52 bus kids defy death in bridge collapse
Aug 02,2007 00:00 by UPI

MINNEAPOLIS -- Dozens of children survived a Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed at least nine people and sent scores to hospitals, CNN reported Thursday.

Officials said 52 children and nine adults were on a school bus returning from a summer youth program field trip when the bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed, sending the vehicle and its passengers onto the river bank below.

Eight children, ages 5 to 14, were hospitalized when the Interstate 35W bridge crumpled during the evening rush hour on Wednesday. Two adult staff members were also hospitalized, one with a back injury.

Kristy Jenkins credited staff member Jeremy Hernandez with saving her 12-year-old daughter. The girl, Nina Jenkins, said Hernandez "busted open the back door of the bus and he told everyone to get out from the back of the door.

"It was scary. Terrifying," she said.

"If it would have been a second later, any second before, we would have been in the water or under the pavement," Hernandez said. "Because the pavement crushed another car that was in front of us."

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