School bus driver aids student who was choking in Pontotoc County

By David Helms/Pontotoc Progress

A South Pontotoc School bus driver came to the aid of an elementary school student who apparently was choking on a piece of hard candy.

Delane Mask, a second year school bus driver from Randolph, said he performed the Heimlich maneuver two or three times on an eight-year-old second grader after other students alerted him she was choking on a piece of candy.

Mask said the incident occurred less than a minute after his bus left the school grounds Wednesday (November 14) in the afternoon.

“We weren’t 150 yards from the school when the other kids said someone was choking,” Mask said.

“The little girl was gaging and crying and obviously panicked, couldn’t breathe good,” he said.

“I called 911 and then did the Heimlich on her two or three times trying to help her cough it up.

“She didn’t cough it up, but she became eased a bit, drank a little water, I think swallowed the candy and started breathing better.”

Mask said that South Pontotoc Middle School Principal Jimmy Flake, School Resource Officer Jay Allen and School Nurse Linda Yielding responded to his call for help.

“The school nurse checked her out, said she was OK,” Mask said.

Mask said he’d had CPR and Heimlich training, but it was the first time he’d had to put it to use.

“Boy, it like to scared me to death, I couldn’t stand it if something happened to one of these little kids,” Mask said.

Mask said the little girl thanked him when she got on the bus the next morning.

“We want to give Mr. Mask a lot of credit for calling for help and then responding to the student’s problem,” principal Flake said.

“He did a really good job of handling the situation. We’re thankful she’s alright.”