Roughly twenty junior high school students suffered personal injuries or breathing problems when a radiator hose burst and spewed hot antifreeze into the passenger area of the school bus Monday morning. The heater core of the bus is located at the rear of the vehicle. When the heater core ruptured, hot liquid leaked into the passenger compartment of the loaded school bus. Some of the hot fluid caused personal injuries, such as burns, to a number of students, while other kids suffered breathing problems from the fumes.
The school bus was transporting 50 students at around 8:45 p.m. when the accident occurred. A superintendent from the school district says a clamp on the heater core came loose, allowing the hot antifreeze mixture to leak out. Students suffered a variety of injuries when the hot liquid spewed from the heater core. Some students were doused with the liquid, but escaped any injury in the incident.
A school official says the district uses non-toxic antifreeze in the system's school buses. The hot liquid seeped onto students' legs and onto some students' backpacks. Students who suffered burns or experienced trouble with their breathing were treated at area hospitals. Authorities say roughly twenty students were hospitalized.
Some of the students suffered only minor skin irritations from the hot liquid. The uninjured students were transferred to another bus and taken to school in the Lake Arrowhead area.
A commercial vehicle inspector from the California Highway Patrol was called in to inspect the damaged school bus. The school district says that the CHP inspects buses each year before school opens. School district mechanics reportedly also inspect the buses. Those inspections began on Monday, according to school officials.
Source: San Bernardino Sun, "Twenty students hospitalized after school bus accident in Lake Arrowhead," Joe Nelson and Michel Nolan, Oct. 31, 2011
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