I-81 Bus Crash: A Look at a Heroic Effort

By Brennan Smith

August 31, 2011 Updated Sep 1, 2011 at 5:22 PM EST

Whitney Point, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The memories of the Aug. 3 bus crash on I-81 came to life Wednesday evening as crews got together to take another look at what happened.

It's the sort of accident that doesn't happen too often in this area, but crews say, considering all of the rain and confusion, they were able to save a life.

Seconds after this coach bus left the interstate and landed on its top, the tones went out.

EMS, fire, New York State Police and news crews raced to the scene of a bus crash with multiple injuries and entrapment.

"This was a major incident. This had multiple patients, a bus accident. It was a complicated extrication. Anytime you have this many patients at once, you have to provide a lot of resources," said Brett Chellis, director of Broome County Emergency Services.

At Whitney Point's fire station, responders got a second look at the response.

Video taken at the scene by responders showed where a woman had her neck trapped under the bus.

They say the bus could have easily killed that woman. But crews were able to prevent the bus from moving too drastically as others evacuated.

rews had $300,000 worth of extrication equipment at their disposal, but because of the complexity of the rescue, an $8 shovel had to be used instead.

"Idid take a while. We had to take our time, we had time to make sure that we did it right so she could basically walk out of there," said Mike Sura, deputy chief for the Whitney Point Volunteer Fire Department.

In addition to heavy rain, Whitney Point Fire faced communications challenges when performing their rescue.

Dispatch had trouble receiving information from their radios, and insted, information had to be called in.

Furthermore, few of the Polish tourists on the bus spoke English.

Still, they were able to block traffic, prepare doctors at multiple hospitals, and get passengers out of harm's way. And it all helped them stay prepared for future incidents.

"Learn from things you do wrong, celebrate things you do right, and keep on going," said Sura.

State police are still continuing their investigation into this crash.

Tickets for the bus driver are still pending.