Rita Bus Survivors

By: AP
By: AP

An 87-year-old woman who survived the horrific bus fire that killed 23 hurricane evacuees is recounting her ordeal.

Edna Briant says there was a flat tire, then a rumble aboard the bus carrying nursing home patients away from Houston. Briant was sitting two rows behind the driver, who checked outside the vehicle, then yelled for everyone to get off the bus.

Briant can't walk. She was rescued by an aide, who she says threw her "on her shoulder or something," then went back for more patients.

Briant prayed that her back wasn't broken, then told her rescuer to "Get Claire!" Her 84-year-old sister Claire was still on the bus. She also was rescued.

The sisters are doubly lucky, having escaped Hurricane Katrina in August.

The Global Limo bus went out of service in July after its registration expired but was allowed back on the road to aid relief efforts. While the company got a "satisfactory" rating in 2004, a former investor had warned that the buses were poorly maintained and dangerous.

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