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Witnesses Say FedEx Truck Was On Fire Before It Hit Bus In Deadly Crash

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The FedEx truck that crashed head-on with a school bus carrying L.A. high school students in Northern California on Thursday may have been on fire before it hit the bus, witnesses say.

Bonnie Duran, whose car was sideswiped by the FedEx truck before it hit the bus, says she saw flames on the truck before it sideswiped them and then hit the bus, she told KPIX 5 radio. The bus of low-income Los Angeles Unified high school students was on the I-5 in Orland and headed to Humboldt State University for a college preview event when the accident happened, killing 10 people, including five students, and injuring 48 in total.

“I was heading along the outside lane. And I looked over and saw the FedEx truck coming right for me and it was on fire already,” Duran said.

Her husband, Joe Duran, said they didn’t have time to react.

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“It was like a 3D movie—you see a Mack truck coming at you,” he said. “It was unbelievable.”

Bonnie Duran told KTLA there was a series of explosions when the truck hit the bus.

Investigators will stay in the area for one to two weeks to gather physical evidence and talk to witnesses, according to Michael Rosekind with the National Transportation Safety Board. He said there are few answers at this point, though he pointed out there was no hard barrier dividing the opposing lanes of traffic, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“While on scene, we will not be determining a probable cause or speculating about the probable cause of this accident,” he said.

All of the victims haven't yet been identified, though chaperones 26-year-old Arthur Arzola, a Humboldt advisor, and an engaged couple, Michael Myvette and Madison Haywood, have been identified. Relatives and school officials have identified others, including 17-year-old Marisa Serrato.

According to Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones, some of the victims were so badly burned that it would take medical and dental records to identify them.

NTSB will be investigating the conditions of the vehicles, driver records, the safety of the highway and whether or not the truck driver was fatigued or in poor health. They’ll also try to recover electronic modules from the truck that may have recorded its performance in order to re-create the crash with 3-D programming.

UPDATE 11:25 a.m.: The Red Cross has set up a hotline for those impacted by the crash at (800) 540-2000. Caseworkers will be available to help families with travel or transportation expenses, as well as mental health and counseling services.

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