NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Imagine sending your child on a school trip only to get a phone call in the middle of the night saying they’re stranded about 1,000 miles from home.
That’s exactly what happened to parents at one Bay Ridge, Brooklyn school after their children’s bus broke down on a Florida highway.
As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, both of Bill Ryba’s daughters are part of the Fort Hamilton High School marching band.
Fifteen-year-old Amanda plays the flute and Megan, 14, plays the saxophone.
Last Wednesday, the girls traveled to Disney World with the school’s band, orchestra and chorus to participate in a music competition.
Ryba said he was alarmed when his phone rang at 2 a.m. on Monday.
“I was thinking the worst, God forbid they got into an accident and all kinds of crazy ideas get through your head,” Ryba told Finch.
Just minutes after hitting the road around 11 p.m. on Sunday, one of the three buses in the caravan broke down on Interstate 4 in Florida. The other two buses were required to stop as well.
The 130 students and their chaperones spent the next 11 hours on the side of the road.
“It’s frustrating because we’re here all night without sleep wondering when the bus is coming,” assistant principal Thomas Oberle told Finch. “Our kids are all safe though, that’s the main thing. They’re handling it like professionals and just want to get back home.”
“We were told that they made efforts to get a bus company within range of where they were stranded and they weren’t able to get somebody to come,” Fort Hamilton High School Principal Kaye Houlihan said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that they had to wait so long.”
A spokesperson for the bus company – Suburban Transit – issued a statement that read in part: “We sincerely apologize to all affected for the inconvenience. Safety is our number one priority.”
Ryba said he’s relieved that all of the children are safe but added he’s still angered by the bus company’s delay.
“I’m very annoyed that it took so long for them to get another bus to the location especially since it was young adults, kids,” he told Finch.
The Fort Hamilton students will finally arrive back in New York early Tuesday morning but because of their extended trip they’ll be excused from school for the day.
Students used social media, text messages and phone calls to keep in touch with their parents throughout the night.
School officials also used a phone blast to keep parents updated.
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