A charter bus filled with 45 Texas high school band students that plummeted into a deep ravine off an Alabama interstate Tuesday morning left one dead and dozens of students hurt.
The deceased person has been identified as the bus driver. The students from Channelview High School near Houston were returning from a school trip to Disney World in Orlando.
While driving on the interstate, the bus left the highway, drove on the center median, before plunging down into a ravine.
A second bus carrying more students from the same group was not involved in the accident, and traveled on to Texas.
ABC13 Houston reported of the horrifying crash, stating that at least 37 people, mostly teenagers, were treated for injuries, ranging from minor to very serious, and one who was reported critically injured.
Lulled asleep by the humming of their Texas-bound charter bus following a trip to Disney World, members of a high school band were jarred awake before dawn Tuesday when the rig ran off a highway and plunged into a ravine more than 50 feet (15 meters) deep.
One person died, driver Harry Caligone, and about three dozen others were hurt, mostly teenagers, authorities and the bus company said. Interstate 10 was blocked for hours where the accident occurred between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, but survivors from Channelview High School in metro Houston described being asleep one moment and tumbling through the air the next.
“Then there was a loud, really huge crash that was presumably when the bus finally came to a stop,” Frances Dodson-Benson said after talking to her 15-year-old son DeWayne Benson. “There were students on top of students, the bags, it was just a disarray, a lot of commotion, a lot of panic.”
— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) March 13, 2018
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement in response to the tragic accident:
“Cecilia and I are heartbroken by the news of this tragic accident, and we offer our prayers to all these young Texans and their families. I pray for a speedy recovery for all those injured, and I am especially grateful for the heroic actions of the Alabama first responders that undoubtedly helped save lives today. Texas is prepared to offer any assistance necessary as we rally around the entire Channelview High School community during this difficult time.”
Statement on bus accident involving students from Channelview High School that crashed in Alabama. pic.twitter.com/aDFWcGTQDG
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 13, 2018