NORTH SIDE (KDKA) – A bus taking veterans to Thursday afternoon’s Pirates game didn’t make it to PNC Park.

Its roof was sheared off when it slammed into a railroad bridge on the North Side. However, the veterans still made it to the game.

“It was just like that. There was all of a sudden a bang,” said Ken Cotter, an Air Force veteran from the North Hills.

Cotter was looking forward to returning home from Erie to see his Pittsburgh Pirates play ball Thursday afternoon.

“The driver that we have is fantastic normally. But, apparently, the signage for your clearance for that bus wasn’t clear enough,” said Cotter.

The Soldiers and Sailors van from Erie could not clear the nine-foot underpass. The roof started tearing off and the bus got stuck, trapping the driver and all nine passengers as it started leaning to one side.

“We were very fortunate today. Very fortunate. This could have been very tragic,” said Chief Jeffrey Meyer, of City of Pittsburgh EMS.

Pittsburgh EMS and Police were quick to the rescue, stabilizing the tipping bus and helping the disabled veterans get out safely.

“No one was hurt, which is fantastic,” said Meyer.

Then the only question was: How would they get to the game? Getting another van from Erie would have meant a two-hour wait.

“I want to go down and check out the game,” said Cotter.

It was police to the rescue again.

“All these individuals decided they were not hurt. We’ve evaluated them. They all want to go to the game and the officers are taking them,” said Chief Meyer.

Pittsburgh Police officers pushed them in their wheelchairs from where they crashed on Merchant Street to PNC Park.

“It’s just public safety working at its best. It’s a team effort. Continue on with some great Pirate fans and now everyone is going to have a wonderful outcome,” said Chief Meyer.

For Cotter and the other veterans, it means so much that the officers went above and beyond their call of duty, coming to their rescue more than once.

“They always show up when you need them, if you’re lucky. And today I was very lucky,” said Cotter.

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