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Last Updated Mar 13, 2018 11:27 AM EDT
LOXLEY, Ala. — A charter bus carrying students home to Texas from a high school band trip to Disney World plunged 50 feet down an Alabama ravine early Tuesday, and numerous children were being carried by helicopters to emergency rooms. According to CBS News affiliate WKRG-TV, the bus driver was killed in the crash.
In total, 12 to 20 passengers sustained injuries in the crash, according to WKRG-TV. One person was hospitalized in critical condition and five others were listed in serious condition. The other victims are being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The bus was carrying at least 45 people.
According to WKRG-TV, a deputy suffered minor injuries while pulling people from the bus.
“We have multiple injuries; the bus went down into a ravine,” said Chris Elliott, a Baldwin County commissioner who helped out at the county emergency management center following the crash. “The fire department and officers are having to rappel down into the area to get into it.”
Helicopters and ambulances took the injured to three hospitals in Mobile and Pensacola, Florida, plus a free-standing emergency room in rural Baldwin County, Elliott said.
“Everybody is being transferred to a hospital to at least be checked out,” said Elliott.
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus ran off the highway before dawn.
First Class Tours owns the bus that was involved in the accident. According to safety records, the bus company has been involved in four crashes in the last two years, according to WKRG-TV.
The company released a statement that reads in part: “Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time. We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation.”
Sheriff Huey Moss Mack says Interstate 10 has been closed in both directions. Traffic has been diverted and Alabama State troopers are asking people to avoid the area.
Relatives posting on social media said the band was from the Houston area’s Channelview Independent School District. One image showing happy band members at Disney World was posted only hours before the crash.
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