Questions and Answers related to WKHS bus incident
Lexington, SC - ABOUT THE BUS QUESTIONS
What type/model was the bus? 1999 Thomas Transit
What is the maximum occupancy? 66-seat capacity bus
How old was this bus? 18 years old
How many miles did this bus have on it? 180,000
When was it last inspected? It has a current state inspection, which means it was inspected within the last 12 months. The last inspection was done by ProFleet of the Carolinas, Inc. They are located at 2542 Fish Hatchery Road, West Columbia, SC 29172.
What is the repair history of the bus? We are unaware of any past repair issues.
How many exits did the bus have? This bus has one rear emergency exit window, two emergency roof hatch exits, two emergency window exits (one on each side), an emergency exit door on the driver’s side and the regular front exit door.` We believe that everyone exited out the regular front door because the bus was on the side of the interstate.
How many buses of this type owned by Lexington District One? The district has 177 route buses that drive approximately 3.2 million miles each school year. The majority of that fleet of buses are state-owned. The district owns 21 buses. Of those 21, six are transit buses. We also operate another 55 state-owned transits (42 regular education and 13 special needs).
ABOUT THE PASSENGERS QUESTIONS
Who was on the bus? 42 White Knoll High School boy soccer players (18 varsity, 23 junior varsity), a student statistician, two coaches and a bus driver
How many back in class today? Know specifics protected by medical privacy laws, but what was the extent of the burns generally? (such as on legs, arms, etc) I do not have their parents’ permission to release that information, and that information is not releasable as directory information under the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act and under other student privacy laws. We believe that only two students have not returned to school.
Were students injured sitting in back of bus or where? There were 42 White Knoll High School soccer players (males, 18 varsity, 23 junior varsity), a student statistician, two coaches and a bus driver on the bus. At this time, I do not have the exact location of the students with injuries. However, we believe those students were sitting toward the back.
ABOUT THE INCIDENT QUESTIONS
Can you explain what happened when the radiator failed? How did the steam enter the bus? Back door, windows, through floor or what? A detailed examination of the bus shows that the coolant supply hose for the heater core ruptured (burst). Since the system is pressurized, it caused a steam, hot water, coolant mixture to release inside the bus. That mixture caused the students’ injuries. It appears that an engine belt that ran the fan that brought air to the radiator broke. Since no air was cooling the system, it got hotter and caused the hose that ran to the heater core to burst. The steam, hot water, coolant mixture rapidly pushed out of the heater hose (imagine turning a hose on). The heater core is located inside the bus, under a metal cover in the very back of the bus.
How much fluid leaked (did it empty radiator)? We do not know exactly how much leaked, but it did not totally empty it.
Has anyone determined if the engine coolant hose on that bus had ever been upgraded with brass or metal fittings instead of the original plastic parts? The bus did have metal clamps, and the lines which come into the hoses are metal.
Had this bus been used earlier Tuesday? If so, for what? Yes. The bus was used earlier in the day to shuttle students from one school to another. The same driver was on that bus all day.
Any immediate changes in bus inspections as result of this incident? Were other buses inspected due to this as a precaution? The majority of our fleet of buses are state-owned. However, both districtowned and state-owned buses are subject to the same inspection requirements. We do not anticipate a change. The fleet has a detailed inspection twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays.
How often are bus radiators inspected? When was a check last done on the vehicle involved, something more precise than past 12 months? The fleet has a detailed inspection twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. If there is an issue on a bus, that bus is inspected more frequently. For example, if a bus radiator was losing water, that bus would be more thoroughly checked and monitored in order to determine a cause. The driver also does a pre-trip inspection prior to use. I can provide information from the S.C. Department of Education on bus inspections.
Can we get the video from the camera inside the bus? No. There was no video camera in this bus.
Why was there no camera on this bus? When cameras were purchased several years ago, the district did not equip district-owned buses with cameras. As a result, none of the buses that the district uses as “activity buses,” meaning they are used to transport athletes to competitions, students to competitions, etc., but are not used as regular route buses, have video cameras.
The district recently issued a Request for Proposals which includes a camera component. When awarded, all buses would have cameras.