Philadelphia - On May 17, Supervisory Customs and Border Protection Officer Bruce Albright, assigned to the Port of Philadelphia, heard a loud crash coming from outside of the container examination station office. Albright immediately looked outside the window and observed a large passenger bus that had flipped over and hit a telephone pole.
The bus was carrying 21 passengers, including the driver. Sixteen passengers, some of which were thrown from the bus, suffered physical injuries; one remains in critical condition.
Philadelphia CBP Officers Joshua Mason, William Brown, Stephen Blackmore and Mel Ruiz, along with Albright, were the first to arrive on the scene. Mason, a CBP first responder, immediately tended to the most severely injured passenger, who hurt his head when he landed on the pavement.
"When I got to him, the first thing I noticed was that he was unresponsive and blood was coming from the back of his head. His breathing seemed normal and he had a strong pulse so I rendered first aid until paramedics arrived," said Mason.
Brown assisted Mason by securing the scene and caring for the other passengers, many of whom appeared to have suffered minor injuries. Blackmore, Ruiz and Albright positioned themselves around the crash site to direct traffic and ensure the safety of those in the immediate vicinity until the Philadelphia Police Department and EMS arrived.
"I didn't have time to think, just react, which is something my time in the Marine Corps taught me. This isn't something that happens everyday so it's just a testament that you need to be ready for anything and the guys I were with proved they were prepared today," said Blackmore.
The passenger bus was traveling on the I-95 ramp at a high speed and was unable to make the sharp turn. The bus hit a telephone pole and flipped over, causing the back of the bus to fall apart.
"Based on previous Coast Guard training in search and rescue, my first instincts were to secure the scene, assess the situation and tend to the most severely injured," said Albright.
All bus occupants were transported to a local hospital for further treatment.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.