Kids on crashed bus reunited with families

  • Article by: Herón Márquez Estrada
  • Star Tribune
  • August 2, 2007 - 9:35 AM

All 60 children riding on a school bus that crashed on the bridge have been reunited with their families, according to the American Red Cross.

And a computer tech volunteer helped bring them together.

Rick Heimark, who volunteers at Waite House Center, where kids were headed when the bridge collapsed, said he used a computer list to match to kids to parents.

Among people on bus was a youth worker who is the last trimester of pregnancy.

"She seemed OK but that could be shock," he said.

Not doing so well is another youth worker who apparently sustained critical injuries and is among the most injured, so far.

Heimark said he heard about the crash and was on way to the Washington/Riverside area to check on his boss, who lives near the bridge when he head one of the youth workers being interviewed on the radio.

After that, he said, "I just went down to Waite House and started praying."

He said Waite House will have counselors available this morning for staff and family and clients.

The Red Cross will have roaming grief and mental health counselors at the holiday inn and accident site to counsel first responders or anyone else at the scene, said Ted Canova, Red Cross spokesman.

"The focus today is going to be with dealing with first responders, especially the emotional needs they might have," Canova said. "They've been through a lot physically and emotionally."

The Red Cross has set up a website to allow people who may have been involved in the bridge collapse to let their relatives know where they are. The website is modeled after one put in place following the Katrina disaster. The website is

Red Cross counselors met with 140 people Wednesday night at their care center at the Holiday Inn Metrodome.

The organization served 1,000 meals Wednesday night and were gearing up for breakfasts at their makeshift kitchen in the parking lot of their headquarters, near the site of the bridge collapse, Canova said.

He said there has been an outpouring of support from the community, which has delivered food and groceries and 30 pizzas from one person. The organization has been able to handle the effort with its 1,300 volunteers and isn't expected to bring any more in from out of town, Canova said.

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