A California bus crash has left dozens injured and at least 10 people dead. Authorities said the bus was transporting high school students and their chaperones to Humboldt State University in Arcata.
Witnesses said a FedEx truck crossed the median and hit the bus head-on. The impact caused an explosion, which engulfed both vehicles in flames. As reported by NBC News, Jonathan Gutierrez, age, 17, was asleep in the back of the bus:
“All of the sudden I could hear people screaming; I woke up and then came the impact.”
Although Gutierrez was wounded in the California bus crash, his injuries are not life-threatening. The teen said people were panicking, screaming, and trying to escape the bus. He said “it was a very surreal moment.”
Authorities said 48 people, including 19 students, were on the bus. Those killed include the drivers of both vehicles, five students, and three chaperones. Although dozens were injured, the extent of their injuries is unknown.
A majority of passengers were high school students from the Los Angeles area. CNN reports that the students were traveling to Humboldt State University for a recruitment event. The annual event is part of a program, which provides opportunities to “low-income and first-generation college prospects.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the scene. Spokesman Mark Rosekind said the team will be “investigating the human, the machine and the environment.”
Rosekind said collecting information at the scene is essential, as some evidence is “perishable” and “goes away very quickly.” He said the goal of the NTSB investigation is to prevent similar tragedy in the future.
Although it is unclear why the FedEx driver crossed the median, witnesses said he hit another vehicle before striking the bus. Authorities said the passengers of the other vehicle received minor injuries, which were treated at a local hospital.
Officials estimate at least 34 people were transported to local hospitals for treatment. The injuries include cuts, burns, bruises, and broken bones. Authorities have not released the names of those injured or killed.
A spokesman with the California Highway Patrol said it “could take months” to determine exactly what happened. FedEx spokeswoman Bonnie Kourvelas said the company is “cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. She also expressed sympathy for the victims and their families.
The California bus crash devastated the community. As authorities continue to investigate the situation, they hope to find answers that will provide the victims and families with closure.
[Image via NBC News]