Ten people and possibly more were killed while dozens were injured on Thursday when a chartered bus was crashed into by another vehicle and then burst into flames, said authorities in Northern California.
A dispatcher with the California Highway Patrol said a truck from FedEx crossed the highway and slammed into a charter bus. Also involved in the crash was a Nissan Altima.
The crash occurred at 5:41 pm near Orland, which is approximately 100 miles to the north of the capital of Sacramento. A section of Interstate 5 was closed by police.
In the crash, the bus and truck drivers were killed, along with three chaperones and five students, said the California Highway Patrol.
Officials said the passengers on the bus were seniors at a high school traveling to visit Arcata, California’s Humboldt State University.
Medical personnel airlifted several people who sustained injuries to local medical facilities.
The University released a statement saying it was deeply saddened by the accident involving the bus filled with students interesting in attending our university.
One emergency medical responder to the scene said up to 37 people needed to be treated for injuries suffered in the accident. Injuries included broken bones, cuts, bruises and burns.
Most of the injured were teenagers and many of them went into nervous shock and needed to be treated by medical responders.
Steven Clavijo, who is an 18-year old senior, said he had been on the bus when the accident occurred. He said he was about to fall asleep near the back of the bus and he felt the bus swerve and heard a big boom. At that point, he knew trouble was on the way.
Many of the students were able to escape through a window one student kicked open, and ran from the wreckage as it exploded behind them.
The students in the accident had been from a school district in Los Angeles but no further details were released.
Law enforcement authorities said an official investigation has been started to determine the cause of the accident. Officials said a complete list of those killed and injured would be released as soon as family members had all been notified.