SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – The image of the experience is still as stirring as it is terrifying.
"My first thought was, what is a wall doing in the middle of a highway?,'' Bluffton resident Chuck Moss said of the deadly bus accident he was involved in last month. "It felt as when you see those crashes on television, the crash dummies, as if we'd gone into a wall.''
Moss and his wife, Liz Isom, were passengers on the bus of American tourists that crashed in Egypt last month, killing six onboard. They were among the 21 injured. They were also among the fortunate.
"My wife and I were both laying down in the back of the bus and about 10 minutes into the ride we crashed,'' said Moss. They were traveling from the southern Egyptian city of Aswan with the intention of visiting ancient temples in Abu Simbel. "There were some people crying. One woman knew her husband was dead, she was crying for him. And we talked to a woman on the floor near us who had a broken back. But basically we just sat there quietly for I don't know how long.''
Moss later learned the bus, which had started out on what was to be a three-hour trip before daylight, hit a parked sand truck on its right side and where he and his wife were sitting, was sheared off.
Less explicable is how life and death were separated by a handful of rows, individual fates as fleeting as seat selections.
"My wife and I went to the back of the bus because I had a sprained ankle and I was told by a physical therapist who was on the trip to keep my leg raised,'' said Moss. "Otherwise, we probably would have died in the crash because we normally sit up front."
"It was a matter of however you wish to explain it, fate, luck, whatever, a higher power. The physical therapist who told me to sit in the back, she died. And another woman who we used to banter with us about our sitting in the front of the bus – she would say give everybody a chance to sit up front, she perished.''
Back in the quiet of Sun City and the comfort of daily routine, Moss had the opportunity to reflect on the incident. The retired psychologist has just chosen not to.
"I don't really think about it anymore,'' he said. "People remind me of it and I'll speak to them about it. But it's sort of a doors closed. It's definitely not a memory I want to dwell on.''