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.
Mark Kramer, a spokesman for Channelview Independent School District in unincorporated Harris County, Texas, said, "A charter bus transporting Channelview High School band students was involved in an accident on Interstate 10 in Alabama early this morning".
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says all of the people on board were brought to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida.
"For whatever reason, the charter bus got into the median and ended up going into a ravine", Mack said near the scene of the accident on Interstate 10 between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
Charter bus carrying students from Texas plunges into Alabama ravine
Authorities said the bus left the roadway before crossing a bridge and fell about 35 feet into a ravine.
Al.com reported that injuries range from minor to critical, and that at least one critically injured passenger was taken to the University of South Alabama Hospital, the only level one trauma center in the region. He spoke with both of them after the crash and was on his way to the hospital.
Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus ran off the highway before dawn.
"We have one confirmed fatality", he said. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m., crunching the bus and leaving the passengers exposed to chilly temperatures.
Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack confirmed the death Tuesday morning while talking to new reporters.
The Alabama Department of Transportation announced that eastbound traffic on I-10 was being diverted at Exit 44.
Rescuers used every piece of equipment on every truck to reach them, Mack said: "This is what we call an all-out".
Six or seven Medevac helicopters transported patients to hospitals, the sheriff said. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, "Please join Cecilia & me in prayer and support for the Channelview students harmed by this bus crash".
One image posted on the band's Facebook page hours before the crash showed a large group posing outside Disney World.
The bus was operated by the First Class Tours charter company out of Houston.