Officials said the bus, carrying students home from West Lake Elementary and Middle year-round schools, was traveling west on Optimist Farm Road near West Lake Road when a tree fell off an on-coming landscaping vehicle. The bus driver swerved to miss the tree, and the bus fell down an embankment.
Two of the middle school students, John Crandall and Kyle Burd, were the first to climb out of the emergency access doors on the roof and the back of the bus, said Sherry Buser, a parent who stopped to help after the accident.
"These two boys should be commended for their quick thinking and for remaining calm while helping all of the students off the bus," Buser said in an e-mail to WRAL.com.
The driver and one student were taken to Western WakeMed with minor injuries. The remaining students walked back to the schools, where they were checked by EMS personnel and then picked up by their parents or guardians.
"After seeing the bus swerve to avoid missing the debris in the road, and then watching with horror as it fell over, it was truly nothing short of a miracle that these kids walked away from the accident," Buser said.