- Category: Getting Along
- Published on Saturday, June 02 2012 04:13
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 453
La Union de Cartago was the scene of a tragedy and great bravery by bystanders Friday morning when a school minivan that had lost its brakes raced down a 200 meter long incline, snapping off an electric pole and crashing into a wall and the iron bars of a front porch.
Ten-year-old Angelo Villalobos, unfortunately walking to school on the same street, was killed when a piece of the bus, flying off in the crash, hit him. Thirteen children and the driver in the bus were injured. But even worse was to come.
The slain boy's sister, 19-year-old Natalie Villalobos, eight months' pregnant, was electrocuted when she apparently, trying to find out about her brother, touched a live electrical cable broken loose by the crash. She and her baby died instantly.
One of the students aboard the bus was in grave condition in the hospital as was pedestrian Dora Romero, 37, hit by the careening bus. Injuries of the bus riders included fractures and bruises.
Despite the electric lines, neighbors exhibited cold courage, extracting eight of the students and the driver before Red Cross paramedics arrived. One of the rescuers was Israel Torres, a cabinetmaker who was directly behind the bus in his motorcycle.
As so often happens in Costa Rica, instead of passing on "not wanting to get involved," Torres immediately stopped to give aid. He saw the piece fly off and hit young Villalobos. At first he thought the boy had been thrown from the crashed bus through a door.
Torres said rescuers were able to extract all but two of the injured children and then had to wait for paramedics. He described the crash to the newspaper La Nacion as "an explosion."
The bus driver, Victor Ramirez, 36, survived with fractures. All the injured were treated at Max Peralta Hospital in Cartago.