ORANGE COUNTY, New York (WABC) — Grief counselors will be on campus Friday morning as students continue to grieve and process the terrifying crash that claimed the lives of two people after a bus overturned on I-84 Thursday.
The bus was carrying students from Farmingdale High School in Nassau County to band camp in Pennsylvania when it careened off the highway and down an embankment.
Many of the students say they found about the horrific bus crash on social media or through texts.
The victims identified by authorities are Beatrice Ferarri, 77, of Farmingdale, and Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa.
Ferrari was a retired teacher.
Pellettiere was the Marching Band and Wind Ensemble Director at Farmingdale High School. Her students called her Ms. P.
The school district says it will be there to provide support to students and staff.
Parents of students say when they tell Pellettiere she had a great job, she would say, “I have the best job. What’s better than teaching kids my passion?”
Pellettiere was not only a passionate teacher, but she was also a single mother of a 2-year-old.
Susan Perna’s son and daughter were in Pellettiere’s class. Perna says her son cried when he learned Pellettiere was killed in the accident.
“She’s one of the reasons that I come to school and get to places 15 minutes before time,” said Perna’s son. “She was an inspiration to me. She was always happy, always positive, always passionate.”
Pellettiere left a lasting impression on many people in her life, including her friend, Rose Walker.
“(She) had a love for instruments for music since she was little. Just had a smile that could melt your heart,” said Walker.
In addition to the two adults killed, five students were critically injured in the accident. In total, 40 students and four adults were on board at the time of the crash.
Many of the 40 students on the bus were freshmen, Hochul said. “They endured. They were strong,” she said.
Farmingdale student Anthony Eugenio, 15, was asleep on the bus when he felt a thud and awoke to what he thought was a dream or nightmare. The bus felt as if it was tipping. Then he felt himself tumbling – how many times he can’t recall – as he tried to pull his sweatshirt hood from over his eyes.
“Then everyone was yelling,” he said. “The kid next to me was covered in blood. I saw blood everywhere.”
He crawled out of the overturned bus through a window, dazed but only scraped and bruised. Once outside, he found his backpack, which had been thrown from the wreck, and his missing shoe.
Victims were transported to six different area hospitals for treatment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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