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Governor Honors First Responders to Downstate School Bus Crash


NYSP Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento joined Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday to recognize first responders, including New York State Police members from Troop F, who responded to assist the victims of the Farmingdale High School bus crash in Orange County on September 21st.

The bus was transporting Farmingdale High School students to a band camp in Pennsylvania when the accident occurred.  The Farmingdale High School band teacher and a retired teacher who was acting in the role of chaperone were killed after the charter bus blew a tire and went off Interstate 84 in Orange County.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. They rushed down a hill toward the wreckage,” said Kathy Hochul.  “It would not have been unusual for that bus to go up in flames at any second. And it would have happened while it was being surrounded and approached by these first responders. Think about the first moment they peered into the bus – the chaos, the shattered glass, the crushed metal, the screams, the cries for help, the fear on the faces of children, smoke billowing out of the engine, the clock ticking in your head. You don’t know how much time you have. Every second counts, and you don’t know how many are seriously hurt. But I have no doubt they look upon all of you that there are people, mostly the students, who are alive today because of your actions in those early, most pivotal moments.

“And that set the tone for an incredible rescue effort that would take over 200 plus responders on the scene that day, 200 people to get them quickly out of harm’s way. And together, they rescued every single child on the bus. So the pain of these two beautiful families didn’t have to be replicated over and over and over by traumatized parents and their siblings and grandparents. That’s remarkable.

“This is 50 feet below the road. 50 feet below I-84, where ambulances were arriving. No. Did you panic? No. You were calm. You were cool. You handled it the way you were trained to do. You set up a rope to pull stretchers up on the road. You rescued people, raced them off to hospitals. And if any chain in that link breaks, it could be traumatic.”



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