ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Five people were hurt when a school bus overturned Thursday on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. near exit 13 in Elizabeth.

The bus was carrying students, mostly fifth graders, from the Mevaskshei Hashem yeshiva in Borough Park, Brooklyn. They were returning from a field trip at Diggerland USA in West Berlin.

Law enforcement sources told CBS2 the driver lost control and struck a concrete barrier, causing the bus to turn onto its passenger side and lose its axle.

Five people, including the driver, suffered minor injuries. All the students were able to walk away from the accident.

“Thank God there’s only a few minor injuries – trauma or kids complaining that their hands hurt. It does not appear to be anything serious.” school official Fishel Schachter said. “We’re all very thankful. We’re really very thankful.”

“Thank God. Really, it’s a miracle and we’re very appreciative,” another man added.

Investigators are looking into whether speed was a factor. School officials said they believe the problem was mechanical.

“Of course I’m sure there’s going to be an investigation, but it looks like there was a malfunction on the bus. The axle broke loose at a very potentially dangerous place – the Goethals Bridge. If you’ve ever been on the Goethals Bridge, you know there’s not a lot of room to maneuver,” said Schachter. “The drivers have sterling records, the buses have passed full inspections as far as we know. Everything was just an act of God.”

The bus driver was extremely upset, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.

School officials said counselors were provided to parents and students to help them cope.

“One kid on the way down said it was very scary. I would imagine so,” said one man. “I guess a lot of parents will have a lot of work tonight, including myself.”

This comes just weeks after another school bus crashed in New Jersey, killing a student and teacher and injuring more than 40 others. That bus was also carrying fifth graders for a field trip.


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