Driver who was hero in '76 Calif. bus kidnap dies

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(AP) – A California school bus driver who was hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three kidnappers buried them underground in 1976 has died. Frank Edward “Ed” Ray was 91.

A family member says Ray died Thursday from complications of cirrhosis of the liver.

Ray was the only adult on board when his school bus was hijacked in the farm town of Chowchilla. The kidnappers then held them inside a truck buried underground in a plan to demand $5 million ransom.

Ray led the children to safety after he and two older children dug their way out as the kidnappers slept. No one was hurt.

The incident was made into a TV movie.

His granddaughter, Robyn Gomes, says Ray didn’t consider himself a hero.

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