Kahuku Players Injured in Bus Crash Determined To Play Saturday

KAHUKU (KHNL) -- Still nursing cuts and bruises, members of the Kahuku High School girls water polo team are gearing up for a pair of matches this weekend, following a terrifying bus crash in Waikane Thursday.

The Red Raider water polo team is back at school, with the exception of a few players who chose to stay home.

"I'm just glad that all you guys are okay, and that it could have been a lot worse," Makana Whitford, head coach, said through tears.

Still shaken from the crash, the resilient girls put on a birthday celebration for junior Minnie Whitford.

"Happy birthday to you," the teammates sang.

The squad was on a school bus heading to a scrimmage Thursday. Police say the driver swerved to avoid cars that were stopped, and ran the bus off Kamehameha Highway.

"I saw her hit the tree and I just saw the bus flipping over," Janessa Orme, senior, said. "And it was the scariest thing ever."

The roller coaster ride ended after the bus tumbled into Waikane Stream.

"When I was in the air, I was like this is going to hurt so bad when I land," Orme said. "I was like oh my God. I can't believe this is actually happening."

"I just have all these bruises on my back," Minnie Whitford, junior, said. "And so it's just, yeah, I just have a big gash on my back and then my head was, I don't know. I just had a really bad headache last night."

Head coach Makana Whitford says Kahuku hasn't lost an Oahu Interscholastic Association match in five years. Despite their ordeal, the determined Red Raiders hope to continue their winning ways with a double-header Saturday.

"I know the whole community is cheering you guys on," the coach told her players.

"We just have more heart now," Minnie Whitford said. "Like we just really want to win it."

The coach says everyone who went to the hospital following the crash was released.

Kahuku will take on Roosevelt and Mililani in back-to-back matches Saturday.