The burning bus
The burning busBinyamin Regional Council and the Company for the Development of Binyamin

On Wednesday, Education Ministry Religious School System Head Avraham Lifschitz presented a certificate of excellence to two teachers who risked their lives to save schoolchildren from a burning bus, Israel Hayom reported.

The 16-year-old bulletproof bus, which was in the service of Kokhav Ya'akov's Ohr Lezion school, erupted in flames two weeks ago as a result of an unknown technical failure.

"We were on the bus when smoke began to fill the air," Ohr Lezion Principal Bezalel Ariel explained. "The smoke was coming from the back of the bus, and we realized the engine was on fire."

"The fire started to burn under the second-to-last seat on the side of the door. One of the teachers, Gefen Michaeli, had her 4-year-old daughter with her. She told her daughter to leave the bus, and stayed to help the students - all of whom are in first or second grade - open their seat belts.

"Another teacher, Ariella Zamal, heard a student call for help because he couldn't open his seat belt. This student was sitting in the last seat on the left side, exactly above the fire. Ariella went to him, opened his seat belt, and took him outside. I met Ariella and the student as I was walking to the back of the bus and made sure everyone was out. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen them earlier. The smoke was so thick, and I was right beside the back door - just two rows away from the back of the bus. If Ariella had waited another few minutes, the child would have been asphyxiated.

"Gefen waited until nearly all the children were out, until I told her to leave. And Ariella saved a life because she risked her own life."

Miracles can sometimes be brought to pass by brave people. No one was injured in the fire.