Shortly before 1.30pm ET on Thursday, a bus carrying members of the Farmingdale High School band crashed down a steep embankment, with authorities saying a flat tire is likely the cause of the accident.
The group of 300 students from Long Island was travelling in a six-bus convoy from Nassau County to a band camp event in Pennsylvania, according to ABC 7 NY.
“A bus that literally tumbled down a 50 foot ravine within minutes. It’s extraordinary,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “While it’s preliminary, it’s likely that a faulty front tire contributed to the accident. Although, again, this is still under investigation. That’s a preliminary determination.”
Hochul said that 5 to 6 students were critically injured.
“There’s a lot of families that need some love tonight, and we extend that from 20 million New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “So let’s keep them in our prayers this evening and as they recover from this horrific, traumatic experience.”
What resulted was a “major vehicle accident” that killed one person, an adult, according to The Associated Press. Dozens of other people were injured, with initial reports indicating five young people were taken to local hospitals in critical condition.
Several groups of emergency responders could be seen tending to the accidents in helicopter videos.
It is unclear how many students or adults were aboard the bus that rolled over but initial reports indicate at least 46 people were injured, many of which were young people.
Footage showed first responders using ladders and ropes to reach the bus which was lying on its side in the embankment.
BREAKING: New York State Police confirm that one person has died in the Orange County, NY bus crash.@aaronkatersky reports after a bus carrying high school students crashed while en route to band camp in Pennsylvania, the school district said. pic.twitter.com/JGXc8GZXQd
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) September 21, 2023
On X, formerly known as Twitter, the New York State Police said that the westbound road at Exit 15, near the town of Wawayanda, was closed for the accident investigation.
Orange County Emergency Management wrote on Facebook that I-84 “is anticipated to be closed for several hours” and asked drivers to plan an alternate route.
They added that they were setting up a family reunification centre at SUNY Orange County Community College.
New York senator Chuck Schumer said on X that he was “monitoring the reports of this bus crash” and added that he was “praying for the students, passengers, families, and everyone involved.”
“What started out as an incredibly beautiful day in New York state, our students left Farmingdale High School on the way for a band trip... they’re friends, they’re companions, together,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said. “They had a weekend planned of fun and enjoying their musicianship, and unfortunately, the day ended in tragedy for so many.”