NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Bus passengers finally arrived in Manhattan early Wednesday morning after unexpected mechanical trouble down south trapped them in the heat for hours.
At 10 p.m. Monday, 53 passengers left Durham, N.C., en route to New York with an expected arrival time of 7 a.m. on Tuesday. However, hours into the trip their bus broke down twice, leaving them stranded on the side of a Virginia road for more than 24 hours.
A Greyhound bus eventually picked up the passengers and arrived in Chinatown around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Passenger Bashir Joseph was with his two sons — ages 8 and 11 — trying to get to New York for his grandmother’s funeral, but they never made it for the 10 a.m. service Tuesday.
“I missed her funeral. My entire family was there and I wasn’t,” Joseph told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “It was a nightmare. We never thought we would get home.”
After the bus broke down, passengers slept on tables and chairs at a nearby rest stop, while others stayed on the hot bus without any air conditioning, water, or food.
“I felt like I was going to die in there,” Joseph’s 11-year-old son, Casanova, said.
“I never experienced anything like this in my life, and I wouldn’t want someone else to. It’s terrifying,” passenger Tatiana Wallace said. “My shoes were melting and the babies were crying.”
Many on the bus were overcome by the heat and several needed medical attention, including the driver, who was transported to a hospital.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police stepped in and arranged for a school bus to take the passengers to a rest stop to shower and eat.
Passengers said the bus company, ABC Tours, ignored calls for help.
“We called so many companies to see if they have buses available, but no one has buses available because right now it’s the summer time,” ABC Tours spokesperson Cindy Lin said. “We weren’t trying to leave them there, not taking responsibility; that’s not the right thing to do.”
Passengers said they plan to file a lawsuit against the bus company.
A spokesperson for the bus company said they will reimburse passengers.
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