A school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee has sent dozens of children to the hospital and resulted in multiple deaths according to local authorities. Assistant Police Chief Tracy Arnold said the bus was carrying 35 children ranging in age from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Due to the confusion on the ground, it wasn’t immediately clear if children were among the dead. Arnold could not provide a specific number of people killed, saying only “multiple fatalities” occurred in the accident. The bus appears to have slammed into a tree, which split it apart. Officials said that at least 23 people were transported to local hospitals after the single-vehicle crash.
But one officer said that multiple children are dead and at least 23 have been taken to the hospital after the afternoon crash of the school bus. The accident took place in the Brainerd area of Chattanooga, and has resulted in the area being closed to traffic. According to police, the bus driver is being questioned and is cooperating with authorities. In a news conference Monday, Assistant Chief Tracy Arnold said there were 35 school children on the bus at the time of the accident ranging in ages from 6 to 11 years old.
In a tweet, the Chattanooga Fire Dept said;
Multiple fatalities are involved in this bus crash. However, contrary to media reports, no firm numbers have been confirmed yet. #ChattFire
Gov. Bill Haslam called the crash a “tragic event” in a hastily called press conference Monday afternoon. “From the state, obviously we’re going to do everything we can to assist in any way. Details are still emerging,” Haslam said. The governor went on to say it was a “sad situation” anytime there is a school bus and children, later saying that events like Monday’s and last week’s crash in Nashville could lead officials to begin additional talks about safety.
“To me it’s a good discussion to have,” Haslam said. “I think when this is over it’s time to have a good conversation about everything around school buses.” This is the second bus crash in Tennessee in recent days involving dozens of students.
Nearly two dozen Chester County Beta Club students on their way to a convention at Gaylord Opryland were injured Friday morning in a crash after a school bus flipped on Interstate 65 in Nashville. Three were deemed critical injuries, according to Brian Haas, spokesman for Nashville Fire Department. Two of the most serious injuries were to arms of students in the bus. The third was a student who suffered a broken collarbone, Haas said. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
ABC News and the Tennessean contributed to this report.
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