You never really know how you’ll react to an emergency situation until it happens to you.
Many people panic when things go wrong, but others instinctively know how to take charge. Thankfully for a group of students in Topsham, Maine, brothers Connor and Seamus Collins fall into the latter category.
Sixteen-year-old Connor and 12-year-old Seamus were riding the bus to school one morning when suddenly Connor heard a thud. He looked up to see their bus driver, 77-year-old Arthur McDougall, slumped onto the floor. When he fell, the bus jerked violently to the right — straight into a ditch. Connor knew immediately what he had to do.
“I got up and pressed on the brake and told my little brother to call 911,” he said, recalling his thoughts in the moment. “I need to stop this bus before it goes into the ditch or before anyone else gets hurt.”
The teenager grabbed hold of the steering wheel while jamming his foot onto the brake. Meanwhile, Seamus made sure someone called for help and began to guide the other students off of the bus via the rear exit. All the while, he kept his cool and even paused to give a crying student a hug.
“I was trying to keep everyone calm, tell everyone it was going to be ok, the police are on their way,” Seamus said. “I gave one of the other students a hug because he was crying and freaking out because he’s never been in a situation like this. Most of them haven’t. And when it’s in a bus accident, it’s very traumatizing.”
While Seamus handled the other kids, Connor enlisted the help of the only other high school student to get Arthur onto his back. The two of them had just started CPR when officer Jose Gomez of the Topsham Police arrived on the scene. They were able to use a defibrillator to get the victim’s heart going again, but he sadly passed away at the hospital later that day.
In the aftermath of the tragic accident, the brothers are being hailed as heroes. Police say they kept the situation under control and prevented anyone else from getting hurt. “If not for them, we would’ve maybe responded a little later,” said officer Gomez. “So good for them for stepping up and being heroes.”
This must have been so traumatic for the kids on that bus, and it could have been so much worse! Connor and Seamus say they’re just happy they were able to help when the situation demanded it. We’re sending our warmest thoughts to the people of Topsham who knew and loved Arthur.
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