(Orland, CA) A FedEx tractor-trailer crossed a grassy freeway median in Northern California and slammed into a bus carrying high school students on a visit to a college.
At least ten were killed in the fiery crash, authorities said.
Massive flames could be seen devouring both vehicles just after the crash, and clouds of smoke billowed into the sky until firefighters had quenched the fire, leaving behind scorched black hulks of metal.
Bodies were draped in blankets inside the burned-out bus.
CHP Officer Lacy Heitman said the driver of the tractor-trailer was among the dead.
CHP dispatchers initially said the bus driver also died, but Heitman said investigators were working to identify the eight victims on the bus, which carried between 44 and 48 students, four chaperones and the driver.
The crash happened a little after 5:30 p.m. on Interstate 5 near Orland, a small city about an hour-and-a-half north of Sacramento.
In a statement, a FedEx spokesperson said, “All of us at FedEx are deeply saddened by the tragic highway accident in California. Our hearts go out to all of those involved and their families. We are cooperating fully with the officials investigating this accident.”
Steven Clavijo, 18, a student at West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita, told The Associated Press that he was on the bus during the crash.
For hours during the long drive north, the students – from several different schools in the Los Angeles area – watched movies and listened to hip-hop on the radio, Clavijo said.