Bus Carrying Band Students Crashes Into Alabama Ravine, Killing Driver and Injuring Passengers

Mike Lawson • News • March 14, 2018

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A charter bus filled with high school band students traveling from Orlando, Florida to Houston, Texas fell into an Alabama ravine yesterday, causing many students to be taken to emergency rooms via helicopters, and bus driver Harry Caligone to be killed, according to CBS News affiliate WKRG-TV.

The students, all from Channelview High School of Channelview, Texas, were returning from a trip to Disney World.

According to Baldwin County Sheriff’s officials via CBS News, one person has been hospitalized in critical condition and five others were listed in serious condition, while the remaining victims are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

A statement from Channelview ISD superintedent Greg Ollis announced that 40 students and six adults from the school were on the bus when it fell into the ravine.  

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to our students, employees, and families that have been affected by this tragedy,” he said. “As you are well aware, a charter bus carrying Channelview High School band students was involved in an accident returning from Florida early this morning.  At this time we have been able to confirm that 40 students and 6 adults from Channelview were on the bus at the time of the accident. We are aware of numerous injuries. We are now focused on getting everyone back safely to our community. We are extremely grateful for the first responders, hospital employees, and volunteers from churches and schools in Alabama and Florida that have stepped up to help our students and comfort them though this difficult situation. Those communities have opened their hearts and arms to our children and employees. They have provided resources, support, and a safe and welcoming environment while we work through the logistics of reuniting our families. We also want to thank our state and local officials who have all reached out to help us. Governor Abbot, Senator Sylvia Garcia, Commissioner Jack Morman, Representative Anna Hernandez, and Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton have all reached out to offer support and assistance.”

According to WKRG-TV and safety records, the bus company, First Class Tours, has been involved in four crashes over the past two years.

“It is our understanding that there are injuries as a result of the accident,” the company said in a statement on Facebook. “Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time. We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement regarding the incident: “Cecilia and I are heartbroken by the news of this tragic accident, and we offer our prayers to all these young Texans and their families. I pray for a speedy recovery for all those injured, and I am especially grateful for the heroic actions of the Alabama first responders that undoubtedly helped save lives today. Texas is prepared to offer any assistance necessary as we rally around the entire Channelview High School community during this difficult time.”

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