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March 31, 2014

13 students on bus taken to hospital for mystery illness

By Mike Denison
Cumberland Times News

FRIENDSVILLE, Md. — Thirteen high school students complaining of sickness were transported to three hospitals Saturday evening after a bus traveling from Washington D.C. to Uniontown, Pa., made an emergency stop at the Marathon Gas Station in Friendsville.

The chartered bus, with 54 passengers aboard, was transporting Junior ROTC students back to Uniontown and the Albert Gallatin School District following a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the Reagan Center, according to Terry Spear, chief of the Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department.

“We have ruled out carbon monoxide,” Spear said Sunday morning. “Right now it looks like food poisoning, but I’m waiting to hear back from the (Garrett County) health department. The students were dizzy and complaining about upset stomachs and stomach pains.”

Spear said the group ate somewhere near the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center before departing the nation’s capital. He said health officials would attempt to trace back to the source if food poisoning is confirmed.

The bus driver was not sick.

The sick students were taken to Uniontown, Ruby Memorial and Garrett Memorial hospitals. A nursing supervisor at Garrett Memorial, where four students were taken, said Sunday morning that there had been no new admissions since the time of the incident. A charge nurse at Uniontown Hospital, where three students were taken, would not answer questions. None of the six students taken to Ruby Memorial were admitted, according to a spokeswoman at the Morgantown facility.

Responding ambulance companies were Northern and Southern Rescue, Salisbury, Meyersdale, Markleysburg, Monongalia County, Bruceton Mills and Frostburg.

Fire company responses came from Friendsville, Deep Creek and Accident. The Garrett Sheriff’s Department and Maryland State Police were on the scene as well. Responders remained with the bus and other students for two and a half hours.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Spear said the bus driver and unaffected students continued on to Uniontown Saturday night.