Video: Elementary school bus seen careening into water

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Surveillance video released Saturday by property managers at the Nine Eagles Community show the school bus involved in Thursday’s crash moments before it careened into a nearby pond.

Two cameras captured the bus. One shows the bus driving northbound on Nine Eagles Boulevard towards the community’s gate house. A second camera captures the bus driving by that guard house and then plunging into the water.

In the first video, the bus seems to be speeding down the roadway, although experts were not immediately available to estimate the speed of the bus.  The second camera shows one frame of the bus in front of the guard house, another frame before the bus goes into the water and then a series of splashes. In the second frame of video, it does not appear the brake lights were illuminated.

News Channel Eight reviewed the video with a number of mechanics, but they declined to comment because they had not inspected the bus in question, nor did they have access to its maintenance records.

27 children from Mary Bryant Elementary School were on the bus at the time of the crash.  None were seriously injured.

Several good Samaritans and deputies responding to the scene safely got the children to the shore. The driver, Lenoir Sainfimin, remained on scene. Efforts to reach Sainfimin have been unsuccessful.

School district officials tell us he has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation as well as toxicology results.  He had only been driving for the district for seven days before the accident happened, but a district spokesperson told us he had prior driving experience.

Hillsborough County’s aging bus fleet has been called into question. The bus involved in Thursday’s accident was 20-years old.  Hillsborough Superintendent Jeff Eakins assured parents at a Friday news conference, the fleet is safe.

Currently, the district is working to determine the cause of this accident.

“You know, we want to review the issues surrounding the mechanics, the mechanical features on the bus,”  said Eakins. “We’re reviewing the video. The behavior of the driver as that incident occurred, and that would help to give an explanation of what the root cause was.”

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