Student Recalls Indiana School Bus Crash: 'Bodies Were Ricocheting Off the Bus'

"It was just crazy" high school senior Martin Schiele tells ABC News.

March 20, 2016, 8:13 AM

— -- One of the Indiana high school students travelling in a bus Saturday that was overturned on Interstate 65 after being sideswiped by another vehicle, tells ABC News he feels lucky to be alive.

The driver of the other vehicle lost control of her car after spilling a drink on herself, according to Indiana State Police. The vehicle then hit the bus, which was transporting 20 members of the boys basketball team from Griffith High School in Griffith, Indiana, to a state semi-final game. There were also 6 adults on board, as well. None of the passengers suffered life threatening injuries.

In an interview with ABC News, part of which aired on Good Morning America Sunday, student Martin Schiele, a senior and point guard on the basketball team, recalled the moment the bus lost control.

He says it was about 45 minutes into the trip, while talking to a fellow teammate in the back of the bus, “and the next thing you know, we started swaying from the left and then to the right. But we were in the back, so we couldn’t see what was going on, on the road. And we were kind of in shock. When we turned to the right, we started flipping into a ditch, and as we were flipping, bodies were ricocheting off the bus. It was just crazy.”

He continued, “So when the bus finally settled down and stopped flipping, everybody was just screaming. Objects were flying everywhere from the top to the bottom of the floor. All of the teammates started rushing out the emergency door to find a way out. I was the last one in the back...Somehow I got stuck as the people were rushing out. They were going over my leg was all kind of messed up.”

Schiele says passers-by were responsive to the students. “After we got out, everybody from the road contributed,” he says. “They turned around, and asked how we were doing and stuff like that. Thank God everyone was okay. Looking at the bus and pictures that I saw, it looked like nobody would have ever made it. The bus really looked like a pancake. It was really squished. God really made a way for us out of that bus.”

Once everyone was off the bus, Schiele said police separated those who could walk from those who couldn’t. “I happened to be one of the people who could walk, but my knee was still bothering me,” he says. “Within a minute, the ambulances came and did what they had to...They shipped us off to Southlake Methodist Hospital [in Merrillville, Indiana]. The doctors did what they had to do. They ran a CAT scan, and they said I was good.”

In describing the pain, Schiele says the shock actually masked the pain at first. “It was the shock that subsided the pain, but when the bus finally stopped, that’s when the pain really kicked in,” he says. “It was a throbbing pain in my knee. And my head went into the emergency door handle when [the bus] was flipping. That’s why I have this little mark [on my head.] It was really painful.”

He continues, “When I got off the bus, my chest started bothering me around my chest area, but it was the muscle. It wasn’t the heart itself. It was really hurting when I breathing. So I had to take short breaths.”

While it was a terrifying experience, Schiele says the bus was only out of control for about 30 seconds. “As far as the action, how long it took from the moment we started swaying to when we stopped flipping, it took about 30 seconds,” he says. “And it took about two minutes to get out of there. Once we got out -- it was a grassy area -- everyone panicked. Our coach and assistant coach was making sure everyone was okay, and the players were walking around making sure everyone was okay.”

Schiele remains grateful his and his teammates injuries were minor. “There’s nobody that’s too severe," he says, breathing a sigh of relief. "As far as my injury, I’m fine. I just have some bruises, no breaks. It’s a matter of time and healing.”