Fulton County releases 911 audio, transcripts following church bus crash

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FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - The 911 calls and transcripts show the effort it takes to get nearly 40 people to area hospitals in Atlanta with no time to spare.

While reporting on the deadly bus crash near Atlanta, WHNT News 19 received the audio and transcripts through Fulton County Emergency Services in response to our open records request.

The initial call to 911 in Fulton County was made at 3:45 PM Eastern. You can hear portions of it in the video above.

"It's a big accident right at Camp Creek and Merk Road," the caller said to dispatchers. "The bus just went across the median and it flipped out of control."

Sirens could be heard in the background of the call, and dispatchers quickly send assistance.

The transcripts paint a picture of what happened. We have pieced together the timeline below:

3:45 PM Eastern- Calls begin to come in to Fulton County Emergency Services

3:47  PM- Units report being on the scene to assist

3:48 PM- Dispatchers advise multiple injuries are involved

3:52 PM- Callers report people trying to get out of the bus

3:55 PM- Traffic begins to back up

4:00 PM- Medics begin setting up triage

4:01 PM- Dispatchers call for a medical helicopter and multiple ambulance services are being dispatched

4:01 PM- Work begins to extricate two patients from the car and bus

4:12 PM- Work begins to send out the mobile ambulatory bus used in Atlanta

4:25 PM- There is a call out for more backboards to transport patients

4:31 PM- Police identify a landing zone for the medical helicopter, with more helicopters on the way

4:53 PM - 15 "walking wounded" are reportedly still being tended to with ambulatory bus. These are those who are not so badly injured that they cannot stand and move around, but dispatchers arrange for them to be taken to the hospital to be checked out also

4:59 PM- Medical examiner is notified

5:10 PM- DOT chief and assistant chief en route

5:21 PM- Dispatchers advise that hospitals are in "mass casualty mode" in order to process the patients quickly and efficiently, per protocol

5:28 PM- Dispatchers are advised there are no more patients on the scene

6:36 PM- Family reunification place set up

6:37 PM- Dispatchers say Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning called to find out where the injured children were taken in the Atlanta area

10:24 PM- The road reopens and all units are clear from the scene

Leaders in Fulton County praised the efforts of the multiple agencies who assisted in helping those affected by the bus crash.

"Coordination went absolutely perfect," explained South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards. "Our rescue teams, our fire departments, College Park, East Point, everyone worked swiftly."

"I was the incident commander, and fortunately here in Metro Atlanta, we do have a regional hospital plan," explained Jack Butler, Deputy Fire Chief of Fulton County Fire and Rescue.

He said of the plans they train for in case of times like these, "It just layers the event to the point where it becomes more manageable by those that are on scene as well as those that are off-scene that are helping us."


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