Driver killed, multiple injured after bus carrying high schoolers crashes into ravine

The driver of a bus carrying Texas high school band students has died and several students are injured after the bus crashed down a steep embankment off the side of an Alabama interstate, authorities said.

At 5:33 a.m., the tour bus, which was headed west on Interstate 10 toward Houston, careened near the highway median and ended up in a 50-foot ravine, Lt. Joe Piggott of the Alabama Highway Patrol said in a statement.

Baldwin County Sheriff Mack said emergency units were dispatched to evacuate and extricate the passengers. Some were carried out by police deputies, others were brought to the surface by firefighters who rappeled down the ravine.

About 48 passengers were on the bus at the time of crash, authorities said.

The crash was “in the dark of night, and we are down in a ravine next to a creek,” Mack said, so “it was a large scale effort.”

Dewayne Benson, 15, was on one of two buses traveling home from Walt Disney World, according to his sister, Sydney Benson.

“He was asleep until the band director started screaming,” Sydney Benson, 19, told ABC News.

She said her brother called the family from a hospital in Pensacola, Florida, and does not seem to be injured.

Injured passengers were taken to hospitals in Baldwin County as well as Sacred Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, Piggott said.

The students are from Channelview High School, said Mark Kramer, spokesman for the Channelview Independent School District.

“At this time, details are limited,” Kramer said in a statement. “We are in contact with law enforcement in Alabama trying to obtain further information.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “Please join Cecilia & me in prayer and support for the Channelview students harmed by this bus crash.”

The driver’s identity has not been released.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are headed to the accident.

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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