This is tragic beyond words. When you go home today, hug your loved ones and say a prayer for these families. They need so much support right now.
At least six children have been killed in a horrific bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, officials have confirmed.
District Attorney Neal Pinkston told WRCB that five people died at the scene and one died at a hospital. Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the district attorney, confirmed the number.
Twenty-three more victims were sent to area hospitals after the bus crashed and wrapped around a tree.
Police Chief Fred Fletcher said 35 schoolchildren were on the bus Monday afternoon.
Bloodied students lay on stretchers, while other children walked away dazed with their parents after the Monday afternoon crash.
Fletcher did not have information about the extent of injuries.
He said the crash was ‘every public safety professional’s worst nightmare’.
It is unclear at this time what led to the crash, but police said the bus driver is cooperating with them as they try and determine what happened.
Fletcher said that speed is being investigated as a possible factor, adding that it is being investigated ‘very, very strongly’.
He also said at a news conference that the bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash.
Chattanooga Police Assistant Chief Tracy Arnold said officials would not identify the students who died, or their ages, until parents were notified.
Previous reports said 12 victims were killed in the crash, but that number was not confirmed and the DA said six victims had died by Monday night.
Some children were trapped in the bus and firefighters had to break into the vehicle to extricate them, according to WDEF-TV.