Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Bus Carrying Texas Students Plunges Into Alabama Ravine, 1 Dead

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Melinda Barton | 13 March, 2018, 20:25

One person died and others were injured when a bus carrying band members from a Texas school crashed in Alabama, authorities said Tuesday.

The bus was carrying band members of Channelview High School who were traveling from a spring break trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Baldwin County Sheriff Mack said emergency units were dispatched to evacuate and extricate the passengers.

About 45 people were on board, and were brought to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida, either by helicopter or ambulance, he said. WKRG-TV reported around 40 people suffered injuries - five of which were serious.

The sheriff said it wasn't immediately clear what caused the bus to enter the grassy median, which abruptly ends at a steep embankment where the interstate passes over Cowpen Creek, about 25 miles west of Pensacola, Fla., and 30 miles east of Mobile, Ala.

News 5 has been told the bus was returning to Houston, Texas from a school trip. He said he did not know how many passengers were injured, but said they were "numerous".

Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus plunged off Interstate 10 into a deep ravine Tuesday morning, and multiple helicopters are responding. He spoke with both of them after the crash and was on his way to the hospital.

Rescuers used every piece of equipment on every truck to reach them, Mack said: "This is what we call an all-out". Interstate 10 was blocked for hours where the accident occurred between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

"Everybody is being transferred to a hospital to at least be checked out", he added. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, "Please join Cecilia & me in prayer and support for the Channelview students harmed by this bus crash".

Officials said the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency facility in Robertsdale, Alabama, would be used as a staging area to reunite non-injured passengers with families. Kramer's statement said the district had only limited details in the immediate aftermath and was in contact with law enforcement in Alabama to get more information.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that in the last two years, the carrier has been involved in four crashes prior to Tuesday's crash, with one of those one involving one fatality.

The bus was operated by the First Class Tours charter company out of Houston.