Two school buses narrowly avoided plummeting onto a motorway after sliding across ice and smashing though a railings above the busy road.
The pair of coaches, which were each carrying 80 pupils, were left perilously dangling 20ft above fast-moving traffic in Seattle.
In a scene reminiscent of the end of the 1969 film The Italian Job, passengers were left crippled with fear as the buses ominously wobbled over the edge.
‘I grabbed the person next to me and prayed to God we didn’t fly,’ said Stephanie Jackson, 17, who was heading home from a job-training conference yesterday.
‘There was just panic everywhere,’ said Jesse Till, 20. ‘I don’t think I should be here right now, but I’m really happy that I am.’
The accident happened as bus drivers looked for a way to avoid steeper streets that had been closed because of snow and ice.
As soon as the first bus turned onto the street, it slid all the way down the hill, through the intersection and into the guardrail above the motorway.
The bus stopped with two wheels hanging over the four-lane road.
The second bus followed the first, sliding down the hill and into the guardrail to the side of the first bus.
Passengers had been heading from Moses Lake, in central Washington, to a downtown terminal.
Eleven of the teenagers were taken to hospital with minor injuries from debris and flying glass, a Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman said.
Two others suffered minor injuries, but were treated on the scene.
The passengers jumped or climbed out emergency windows before aid crews arrived.
Neither bus was in much danger of falling from the clifftop, but motorway lanes were closed as a precaution.
By evening, tow trucks had pulled both buses back from the edge
Several passengers said the second bus pushed the first farther over the edge.