CONCORD, N.H. – A passenger who was on the bus that was the subject of a bomb scare in New Hampshire said Saturday the group was confused about what was going on, yet stayed relatively calm as they were surrounded by a bomb squad and sharpshooters.

Megan McClelland of Keene Valley, N.Y., said the bus driver pulled over shortly after driving from the Portsmouth station Thursday, saying something about engine trouble, then left the bus. “Everyone assumed he was fixing the engine,” she said.

McClelland saw police cars pull up and a nearby hotel being evacuated, but said it wasn’t until more police arrived with guns pointed in her direction that she thought there was something on the bus causing the problem.

“No one had any idea as to what was going on,” she said. “People started calling out to relatives and friends” and were told about the bomb scare.

McClelland, a 21-year-old Bates College student who boarded the bus in Lewiston and was headed to Boston, said most of the passengers thought there was a suspicious package on the bus, “and that it wasn’t anybody on the bus causing the problem.”

McClelland said about an hour into the situation, some passengers were getting anxious, but a man who identified himself as a former New York police officer was good at keeping everyone calm, telling the group that police were following protocol.

McClelland said there was one girl on the bus who was talking on her phone with police, and was advising them when someone was going to get up and go to the bathroom. “We had to pretty much report any big movements we were making,” she said. “The former NYPD officer was making sure anyone didn’t move around a lot.”


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