March 21, 2018

Texas high school students injured in Disney trip bus plunge

13 March 2018, 08:24 | Opal Carroll

Tour bus crashes near Alabama-Florida state line carrying at least 50 people with multiple injuries reported after plunging down a ravine

Multiple injuries were reported Tuesday morning after a charter bus carrying high school band members crashed into a ravine on Interstate 10 near the Alabama Florida line according to media reports

A bus carrying Texas high school band members home from a spring break trip to Disney World plunged into a ravine before dawn Tuesday in Alabama, killing one person and injuring many others. State troopers said the driver was killed, and medical officials said at least 37 people, majority teenagers, were treated at hospitals or other facilities in Pensacola and southwest Alabama for injuries that ranged from minor to very serious. They are members of the Channelview High School Falcon Band and were traveling back from a school trip to Disney World in Florida, we're told.

Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack confirmed the death, and Major Anthony Lowery said the bus ran off the highway. Those who were injured were taken to hospitals in Alabama and Florida.

"There's at least one confirmed fatality at this point", Lowery said by telephone.

Mack said the bus went about 50 feet down into the ravine.

One person died, the driver, and about three dozen others were hurt, mostly teenagers, authorities said. The interstate was closed down in both directions after the crash. "Thank God they were alive but (they) had to take them on (a) helicopter", he said in an interview conducted by instant messages. Rescuers had to repel down to reach the bus, and some passengers were evacuated using ropes, Mack said.

"Everybody is being transferred to a hospital to at least be checked out", said Elliott.

"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", Abbott said. "Texas is prepared to offer any assistance necessary as we rally around the entire Channelview High School community during this hard time", he said in the statement.

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The Baldwin County call center is being brought online to field calls regarding the passengers and their locations, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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.

Channelview Independent School District spokesman Mark Kramer said the district was in contact with law enforcement in Alabama to get more information. 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".

Authorities said I-10 will remain closed near the town of Loxley, Ala., until about noon CT on Tuesday as the investigation and cleanup continues.

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

This story is developing and will be updated.

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