Evacuated in bathing suits
A tour of 41 elementary students from Phoenix were swimming off Catalina Thursday when they were told they needed to evacuate. They left in flip flops, bathing suits and whatever they had brought to cover their suits.
Lyn Bailey, the school's assistant superintendent, said the students and six teachers from Arroyo Elementary School were taking an end-of-the-year trip to the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina. The school has been sending classes there for the last six years. Until they were evacuated, the students were looking for marine species in their natural habitat, as well as swimming and snorkeling. For some students, it was their first trip out of the state.
They were first evacuated to Fox Landing, where the group thought it was going to stay for the night. But at 2 a.m. Catalina fire officials told them they needed to leave the island.
The teachers gathered up the children and led them to the ferry. They arrived Cabrillo High School in Long Beach shortly before 4 a.m. and were quickly ushered to cots, where they could sleep. By morning, Long Beach residents brought donated clothes to the students so they wouldn't have to wear their swimsuits on the ride home.
The students left by bus this morning and are expected in Phoenix at 4 p.m.
School officials expressed thanks to officials for taking care of the students. "We always knew California was a good neighbor," Bailey said.