PENNSYLVANIA (WAVY) - Parents contacted 10 On Your Side Saturday when a local youth group became stranded for hours along a highway.
The Young Life group from Poquoson was headed to upstate New York for a trip, but their bus broke down before they got there.
The Young Life group was left sitting on the side of Interstate 81 in rural Pennsylvania for more than six hours without food or water, parents told WAVY.com. Parents said some of the children complained that they were hot, hungry, and thirsty. Others needed to use the restroom.
The group was aboard a Tidewater Touring bus, which is based out of Hampton. The bus left the area at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, and broke down around 11 a.m.
"I was very concerned about sixty to seventy kids sitting on the side of the road on the Interstate," said parent Roger Covert.
The Covert's only daughter was on the bus when it broke down. They were even more concerned when they learned the kids were stranded on Interstate 81, a place known for accidents.
"The horrific thing I was feeling all day long is that these kids are sitting on the side of I-81, and nobody is doing anything to get them off the side of the road," Covert said.
10 On Your Side called Tidewater Touring and an officer manager told us once they realized the bus couldn't be fixed, they did everything to find a replacement.
"We called many, many, many, different bus companies from all over the area," Tidewater Touring manager Sharon Paul said. "Most of them wouldn't answer the phone because it was a Saturday."
A good Samaritan brought water and crackers for the kids,but parents say the wait was too long.
"I would have loved if some provisions were offered whether it be taxi cabs or church buses, or limo service to get the kids off the interstate," Covert said. "In my mind it could have been done."
Paul says part of the problem was bad communication. The Camp Director in New York dispatched a different bus company to pick up the kids. The bus got lost, then stuck behind an accident slowing down their response time.
"I do want to apologize to them," Covert said. "I wish there was something I could have done faster, but we honestly tried everything we could. We were told by the other bus company that the bus would be there."
Paul says the bus was checked by a mechanic before they trip, and do plan to issue a refund to the youth camp that hired them.
A bus was able to pick the youth group up by around 6 p.m.
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