10 Dead After FedEx Truck Hits Bus Carrying L.A. High Schoolers In Northern California
At least 10 people have died after a Fed Ex semitrailer hit a bus full of students from Los Angeles area high schools on I-5 in Orland, California yesterday at 5:30 p.m. California Highway Patrol said the FedEx vehicle crossed a grassy median and then struck the bus, which then burst into flames. Dozens were also injured.
According to the LA Times, "The victims included five students, three adult chaperones, the driver of the truck, and the driver of the bus... Although officials said they were aware of students from Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Koreatown and Manual Arts High School in South L.A. participating in the trip, which was not organized by L.A. Unified, it was unclear whether they were on the bus. Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino wrote on Faceboook and tweeted that two Banning High School students were on the bus but had survived."
A total of 48 people were on the bus: 44 students, three chaperones, and the driver. One of the students told the AP that they were just watching movies or listening to music, "I just heard this loud boom. We knew we were in major trouble."
The students were going to visit Humboldt State University—they released this statement: "Humboldt State University is deeply saddened by a tragic accident that occurred earlier this evening involving a charter bus filled with prospective students. They were on their way to visit campus for the April 11 Spring Preview event."
A third car was also in the accident, but no one was injured; the AP reports, "Investigators say the truck driver might have been trying to avoid a passenger car that was also involved in the crash, which shut down north- and south-bound traffic on the freeway." FedEx issued a statement saying, "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."
Both sides of the interstate were closed; they are expected to reopen at 8 a.m.
UPDATE 11:21 p.m.: The Los Angeles Unified School District announced that 19 of their students from 16 high schools in the district were on board the bus. It was one of three buses heading towards Humboldt State for a campus visit, reports NBC Los Angeles. The high schools from which the students came from are San Fernando, Dorsey, Fremont, City of Angels, Manual Arts, Banning, Carson, Chavez, Diego Rivera, Middle College, Belmont, Wilson, Chatsworth, Jefferson, and Grant. So far the only victim identified has been 26 year old Arthur Arzola of Rancho Cucamonga, who was working as a recruiter for Humboldt State. Concerned parents can reach an LAUSD hotline at (213) 241-3841.