Mon | Apr 23, 2018

Driver killed, Texas students hurt in Disney trip bus plunge

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Rescue crews look down on a charter bus after a deadly crash in Loxley, Alabama. The bus, carrying Texas high-school band members home from Disney World, plunged into a ravine before dawn yesterday.

LOXLEY, Alabama (AP):

Lulled asleep by the humming of their Texas-bound charter bus following a trip to Disney World, members of a high-school band were jarred awake before dawn yesterday when the rig ran off a highway and plunged into a deep ravine.

One person died, driver Harry Caligone, and about three dozen others were hurt, mostly teenagers, authorities and the bus company said. Interstate 10 was blocked for hours where the accident occurred between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known, but survivors from Channelview High School in metro Houston described being asleep one moment and tumbling through the air the next.

Student DeWayne Benson, 15, told KTRK-TV by telephone he awoke to hear the band director repeatedly say "Harry" before the bus hit a series of bumps followed by one "huge bump.

"Some students were stuck under seats, some were on top of other students, and there's a lot of panic to get people out," said Benson, who was taken to a hospital but wasn't injured.

Students used cell phones as lights to get out and grabbed blankets to help people outside, he said. Temperatures were in the 40s at the time of the wreck, which happened around 5:30 a.m.

First responders used ropes to rappel down the more than 50-foot (15-metre) ravine in the middle of I-10 and then had to cut some of the victims from the wreckage, said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack.