Covering Kentucky

Jul 4, 2014 7:09 PM

Victims, Rescue Squad Of 1958 Floyd County Bus Crash To Be Honored

It's one of the worst school bus crashes in the country.

The 1958 crash in Floyd County involved a bus with filled with children that ran off the road into an icy river.

A total of 26 students and the driver died in the accident.

The victims of that awful accident will soon be honored as will the oldest living rescue squad member from that time.

"It was a cold winter day, the river half way up the banks," retired rescue squad member Bud Alexander said. "It's hard to believe what happened because the school bus was completely under water."

Alexander was one of many who rushed to the river that day to try and save the students.

Back in 1958, the rescue squad consisted of volunteers.

"I have no idea how many days I was there," Alexander said.

The recovery took 72 days.

"It was bad, especially young children on that bus," Alexander said. "They had temporary morgue set up. I never did go down there."

The number 27 was bad luck. It was bus number 27, the driver who died was only 27, there were 27 deaths and the first two digits on the bus' VIN number was 27.

Now more than half a century later, those 27 victims will be honored when a memorial statue is unveiled at the dedication of Floyd County's new Alexander-Goble-Willis Rescue Training Center, named in part after Alexander and others.

They established Floyd County's first emergency and rescue squad, the first in Kentucky.

"It made me feel really good," Alexander said. "I was surprised when they named it after me."

The dedication and unveiling of the memorial will take place August 30 at the new training center in Prestonburg.

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