Minimum nine people have been killed and 35 injured in a terrible car crash in northern part of California involving a FedEx truck, a tour bus carrying high school students, and a Nissan Altima.
Preliminary data shows that the passengers on the bus were students going to their colleges. The bus collided on the road with a FedEx semi-truck near Orland, witnesses claim.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate,” said FedEx spokeswoman Bonnie Kourvelas.
Images from the scene showed emergency workers around the vehicles’ charred remains. The accident freezed the traffic there.
“The victims were teenage kids,” a firefighter told reporters. “A lot of them were freaked out. They were shocked. They still couldn’t grasp what happened.”
Karen White, spokeswoman with Shasta Regional Medical Center, said her hospital has received two patients. “I don’t know if any more are coming,” she said.
Humboldt State University in Northern California said in a statement that it was working to learn more details of the terrible crash.
“Humboldt State University is getting word of an accident involving a charter bus that was bringing a group of prospective students to the university’s April 12 Spring Preview Day,” the statement read.
The horrific car collision claimed lives of both drivers, five students and three chaperones, reported Lt. Bruce Carpenter with the California Highway Patrol.
“The victims were teenage kids. A lot of them were freaked out. They were shocked. They still couldn’t grasp what happened,” Jason Wyman with the Orland Volunteer Fire Department said. “You hear about it in the news, but you never seen anything like that.”
“I went outside, and everything was in flames already,” a local resident, Luis Lopez, told the media . “There were a couple of explosions after that.”
He went on, adding that he heard people screaming and begging for help and saw a man running with his back on fire. Lopez also said emergency crews were able to extinguish the fire on the man’s back.
“I just heard this loud boom,” Steven Clavijo, 18, a student at West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita who was on the bus, said. “We knew we were in major trouble.”
“Everybody screaming and, like, I was panicking so I just started banging the window to the right,” Jonathan Gutierrez, a student, told the station. “Everybody, like three people were trying to fit through the window at one time.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement on the crash late Thursday.
“As we mourn the loss of those who died, we join all Californians in expressing our gratitude for the tireless work of the Red Cross and emergency personnel who responded bravely to this terrible tragedy,” Brown said in a statement.