BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. – At least one person was killed when a bus carrying Houston-area band students drove into a 50-foot ravine in Baldwin County, Alabama, on Tuesday morning, Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack said.
The crash and rescue effort closed down Interstate 10 in both directions near the Florida state line.
Mack did not identify the person killed but said several injured people were taken to 10 hospitals in Baldwin County, the Alabama cities of Mobile, Daphne and Fairhope, and Pensacola, Florida.
Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola received 18 of the patients, according to its website.
Six or seven Medevac helicopters transported patients to hospitals, the sheriff said. One patient remains critical, he said, and five are in serious condition. The rest of the injured, including a Baldwin County deputy hurt during the extrication process, suffered minor wounds, he said.
A video of the crash shot in the early morning showed a bus on its side in a grassy aqueduct as rescuers with flashlights scoured the area. Firefighters looked down from a bridge, a line of emergency vehicles lining the road leading up to the bridge.
The bus’ front axle appeared separated from the vehicle and at least two doors to luggage compartments had been ripped off the side. The roof of the bus also appeared damaged.
The bus was traveling west, carrying the students home from Central Florida when it drove into the median on Interstate 10 and then into the ravine at Cowpen Creek, about 5:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET), Mack said. The last victim was extricated from the crash shortly before 9 a.m. (10 a.m. ET).
“A charter bus transporting Channelview High School band students was involved in an accident on Interstate 10 in Alabama early this morning. At this time, details are limited,” said Mark Kramer, a spokesman for Channelview Independent School District in unincorporated Harris County, Texas.
Baldwin County runs up the eastern edge of Mobile. Bay Minette is its county seat.