The parents of more than two dozen Florida elementary students are breathing a sigh of relief—and some are drying off—after a terrifying school bus accident yesterday in Tampa, Fla. As parents stood waiting for their children around 2:30pm, the bus from Mary E. Bryant Elementary drove right past the stop, careened off the road, and hit some trees and electrical equipment before toppling over into a pond, the Tampa Bay Tribune reports. Bystanders dove into the water to help rescue the children—witnesses tell WPTV the kids were "terrified and screaming"—as did police deputies who arrived on the scene and made multiple sweeps of the bus to ensure all 27 kids were safe. Everyone was eventually accounted for, and there were no serious injuries reported.
One parent whose son was on the bus tells Bay News 9 that "everybody was freaking out. People were running everywhere," while his son told him the crash was "like a roller coaster" in which "the bus started going faster and faster. We hit the tree and flipped over and ended up in the lake." WPTV reports that witnesses said the bus seemed to be speeding, and a sheriff's office spokeswoman tells the Tampa Tribune that the bus driver was spotted pumping the brakes before the bus went off the road; the school district is said to have one of the oldest bus fleets in the state. The bus will be thoroughly examined for mechanical problems, and the driver will be checked out for any medical issues, the spokeswoman adds. (WTSP shows more of the frightening photos.)