(WMC-TV) - A Memphis-based FedEx truck reportedly crashed head-on with a tour bus carrying high school students; 10 people were killed and at least 35 others were sent to the hospital.
Preliminary reports show the southbound FedEx Freight vehicle drifted into northbound lanes and collided with the tour bus in Orland, Calif. on Thursday.
A black plume of smoke filled the air. Students, chaperones, a recently engaged couple, and both drivers were among those killed.
"There was an emergency exit, but there were too many students in the bus that were trying to get out," said survivor Jonathan Gutierrez. "So students that were there broke the windows and that help a lot of us get out safely."
Glenn County Sheriff's Dispatcher Pauline Spooner said several people were airlifted to a hospital. The Red Cross set up shelter near the gutted bus for those suffering minor injuries.
The Associated Press reports most of who survived suffered critical burns or broken bones.
The bus carried 44 teenagers from more than two dozen high schools in southern California.
Humboldt State University shared condolences on its website for the bus of prospective students who were on the way to the school's spring preview day.
"First and foremost, I want to express my deepest personal sympathies and the condolences of over 300,000 other FedEx team members to everyone involved in this accident, including the families of the students and others who lost their lives and those who were injured and the families and friends of the FedEx Freight driver who died in the crash," wrote FedEX Corp. Chairman and CEO Fred Smith, read his full statement here.
FedEx said they are committed to assisting the investigators in their efforts to find out what happened.
The California Highway Patrol and the National Transportation Safety Board warned it could take months to conclude the investigation.
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