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At least one dead as bus carrying students plunges into Alabama ravine

At least one dead as bus carrying students plunges into Alabama ravine

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 and then fell into the 50-foot ravine. The students are from Channelview High School, said Mark Kramer, spokesman for the Channelview Independent School District.

Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack said the students were returning to Houston, Texas, from a spring break trip to Disney World.

The tour bus, which was transporting a high-school band, crashed off the Interstate 10 expressway into a 60ft ravine, injuring between 12 and 20 people, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Office.

"We have multiple injuries; the bus went down into a ravine", said Chris Elliott, a Baldwin County commissioner who helped out at the county emergency management center following the crash.

At least 37 people, a lot of them teenagers, were treated at hospitals or other facilities in Pensacola and southwest Alabama for injuries that ranged from minor to very serious, medical officials said.

Rescuers had to repel down into the ravine to reach the bus, and some passengers were evacuated using ropes, Mack said.

Witnesses on the scene tell News 5 both directions of traffic are stopped.

"We have one confirmed fatality", he said.

Baldwin County Sheriff's Office Major Anthony Lowery said the bus ran off the highway before dawn.

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The bus was carrying at least 52 people, WEAR-TV reports.

At least 12 of the passengers were seriously hurt, with many others also suffering injuries. we're told.

Sheriff Huey Moss Mack said both lanes on the interstate have been closed.

An Alabama state trooper confirmed the person killed was the bus driver.

One image posted on the band's Facebook page hours before the crash showed a large group posing outside Disney World.

They said the accident's cause would be investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

The Channelview High band was traveling on two charter buses, FOX10 has learned, and the bus that was not involved in the accident is heading back home to Texas carrying band members and chaperones.

First Class Tours, which operated the bus, said in a statement that the bus was carrying students home from Orlando, Florida, and the company is cooperating with investigators.