Captain Ed, a Minneapolis blogger, was my link to the bridge collapse, and posted this yesterday:
9:34 – James Lileks is keeping an eye on the updates as well, and contributing his own unique voice to the coverage. Best point: “Sixty children on the bus. Sixty children alive. There’s chance, and there’s miracles. Take your choice.”

But now it turns out that the angel who saved the schoolkids was an everyday hero, a gym instructor named Jeremy Hernandez, who had the presence of mind to open the back emergency door in the bus and help the other staff calm down and evacuate the children.

The front of the bus was wedged inside the bridge collapse, blocking the front exits, and there was a very real worry that the bus would slowly slide into the water, and many of the children were confused at what to do.
As the Startribune reported:

“What the kids talk about most was the screaming, the silence, the confusion and the gentleman Jeremy [Hernandez], who really stepped up and gave a little direction and order as to what needed to happen,” Mattson said. “They’re still trying to comprehend what happened.” …

Hernandez leapt from his seat near the back of the bus and sprang into action.

“I looked over at the river and my heart started beating fast and I jumped over the seats, opened the back door, kicked the coolers out, turned around and tried to dump kids out of the bus,” Hernandez said. “All the kids were lining up by the bus [as he got them out] and I could feel the bridge still shaking.

“I was handing kids over to these guys that were on the street right below it.”

So as Minnesota mourns their dead, remember that angels are sometimes everyday heroes who save lives.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. She lived in Minnesota in the 1990’s.

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