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40 Students, Driver Rescued After School Bus Trapped In Rising Flood Waters

SHALER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- Forty students and a driver needed to be rescued on Wednesday morning when a school bus was overtaken by floodwaters along Seavey Road.

Numerous area roadways became flooded as creeks and streams were overtaken by water when the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved across Western Pennsylvania.

Seavey Road Bus Water Rescue
(Photo Credit: Cherry City Volunteer Fire Co./Facebook)


Early Wednesday morning, crews with the Cherry City Volunteer Fire Co. were dispatched to the scene to perform a water rescue. All 41 passengers on the bus were able to be safely rescued without anyone being injured.

The driver, who works for ABC Transit, did not attempt to drive through deep water. The company says the vehicle stalled out when water got into the bus' air intake on the front right bumper.

Shaler Police say all the evidence was reviewed by the Allegheny County DA's Office, and no charges will be filed because the flash flooding couldn't be avoided by the driver.

"The evidence as a result of all investigations showed that the bus driver had no time to react to the water rushing onto the road and that he did an exemplary job at notifying his dispatcher and helped to calm and evacuate the students," said police.

The driver called for help, and a nurse driving a few cars back ended up pulling over to assist before officials arrived.

"I was driving to work right before 7 this morning going up Seavey Road. And when I turned on it, there was a flash flood and I saw the school bus was stuck in the middle of the road," Lisa Reinhardt said.

WATCH: KDKA's Meghan Schiller Reports

"They took the kids out five at a time on the boats," she added. "Everyone was safe. I helped by lining them up against the wall and making sure they were OK."

With water rising out of Little Pine Creek, it didn't take long to make its way into homes. Now the cleanup begins in Shaler. Volunteer firefighters showed up to pump water out of basements after getting 10 homeowners out of harm's way.

For resident Scott Scariot, it's the fourth flood in two years. There are 28 inches of water on the outside, and even with sandbags, 19 more inches inside. Even with all the water pumped out, layers of mud remain behind.

WATCH: KDKA's Nicole Ford Reports

"I'm frustrated. I understand I live in a flood plain. Every year, every two years to redo the basement or get a new hot water tank or a furnace," he said.

Across Kay Street, Mike Napierkowski is looking at three feet of water in his basement.

"We sandbagged here. We thought we'd be okay, but it came down so fast, caved in the sandbags across the street," he said.

While the residents are thankful for flood insurance to cover the damage, they say it doesn't come without a cost. One even says he's sold his house three times only for buyers to back out because of the flooding potential.

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