It’s a scene that would make any parent shudder — a 4-year-old girl tumbled out of the back of a moving bus in the middle of a busy highway.
Video of the incident shows the back door of the bus springing open and the young girl plummeting to the road. “I couldn’t believe it, it was so shocking,” said Ryan Ciampoli, who was driving behind the bus in Harrison, Arkansas.
Ciampoli, who is a trained emergency medical technician, ran to the little girl’s rescue after her terrifying tumble on Wednesday. His vehicle is fitted with a dash cam that recorded the incident because he sometimes uses it when on duty, Ciampoli said.
At first the girl was unconscious, but he cradled her and talked to her until she came round.
“For a very brief time she had got enough consciousness to say ‘where is my mommy?,'” he said.
He picked her off the hot pavement and moved her off the busy road while waiting on emergency medical services. “Obviously you want to leave her laying there, if she’s not in danger, but we’re in the middle of a state highway,” he told CNN affiliate KHBS-TV. “So I couldn’t leave her just laying there.”
The girl suffered a broken jaw and will undergo surgery. She was taken to a local hospital and united with her parents, then flown to a trauma center at Mercy Hospital.
The male driver was the only adult on the church-owned bus, which was taking children either to or from church, Paul Woodruff, chief of the Harrison Police Department, told CNN.
Other children told police that the girl went to the rear exit door, pulled the latch and opened it, Woodruff said, and then fell out. The children alerted the driver, who pulled over up the road.
Bystanders had called police by then. Emergency responders were on the scene when the driver called, Woodruff said.
The driver remained on the bus with the other children.
“The driver of the bus will not face any charges as this was just a tragic accident,” Woodruff said.