Woman trapped in flooded bus tells her story of survival - 8 News NOW

Woman trapped in flooded bus tells her story of survival

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LAS VEGAS -- A woman trapped with five other people says they were facing death when their shuttle bus became stranded on U.S. 95 near Lee Canyon.

The incident happened last month, when monsoon rains shut down both parts of the freeway for hours, covering a section with flood waters and mud.

Several cars, including the bus, were trapped in three feet of mud, boulders and rushing water. One passenger told the story of how they all survived, only to 8 News NOW.

Pat Reichert was on a shuttle bus from Las Vegas to Indian Springs, after doing some grocery shopping, when she says they approached flood waters.

Instead of turning around, she says they drove into the water and became trapped and nearly died.

“Rocks are hitting us. We're going to go down. Oh my God! Please!" Reichert told the 911 dispatcher.

The small shuttle bus with six people inside was easily swept hundreds of feet in rushing flood waters down U.S. 95.

Reichert was the only passenger with cell phone service who could call 911.

"We're in trouble,” Reichert told the dispatcher.

“I know ma'am. We're on our way to help you out,” the dispatcher responded.

Panic spread inside the bus. Reichert said the rising waters got so high it was surging over the side of the bus. At one point, the passengers thought the bus would flip.

"If we drop any more, we're going to have problems," Reichert told the operator. Another passenger yelled that the bus was going over.

“Okay, y'all need to brace yourselves in case you tip over," the operator told them.

“We're all bracing. We're all bracing,” Reichert said.

Meantime, the bus filled chest deep with muddy water. The Silver Rider bus transports people from Indian Springs to Las Vegas. That day, the passengers inside included a man with limited mobility, a man on oxygen and a 9-year-old child.

"The child was crying that she didn't want to die. And I was telling her she was being very brave," Reichert said.

Reichert said no one, not even the driver, knew where the emergency exits were.

Meantime, emergency crews were on their way. They had dispatched helicopters and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers. About 25 terrifying minutes after the first call to 911, the waters finally started going down.

"I don't know how we survived it. I mean, now I do, but at that point, I did not think we were going to survive it," Reichert said.

Pictures were taken just moments after the passengers were able to get out of the bus safely. For Reichert, the nightmare is still not over. She says every time she closes her eyes, she is still back there trapped on that bus, preparing to die.

Following the flooding, Reichert said Silver Rider offered to replace her groceries in exchange for signing a form, which stated, "There is no other compensation due to me in regards to this incident,"

She refused.

Despite those harrowing moments, no one was hurt. Also, no one was cited.

Reichert said she later called the company, encouraging managers to train drivers on where the emergency exits are.

"Her response to me was, ‘we don't want the passengers to know where the emergency exits are,'" Reichert said.

8 News NOW called Silver Rider for answers. All the company would say is it felt its driver did well that day, and did not knowingly drive into flooding. The spokesperson would not comment on whether the driver was still on the job.

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