Six dead and 18 injured as semi truck crashes into an Ohio school bus

Six killed and EIGHTEEN injured when a semi truck plows into Ohio school bus carrying 57 people on I70 – sparking huge fire

  • Six people died and 18 were injured on Tuesday when a high school charter bus was rear-ended by a semi truck and burst into flames
  • Five vehicles were caught up in the chaos: the truck, the Tuscarawas Valley students’ bus, and three more vehicles
  • Sean Grady, the EMA director for Licking County, confirmed the death toll: Governor Mike DeWine ordered flags be flown at half-staff in the county

Six people are confirmed dead and 18 injured after a school bus and a semi truck collided on an Ohio highway on Tuesday morning. 

Five vehicles were caught up in the accident, which occurred shortly before 9am on Interstate 70 West in Licking County, near the Smoke Road underpass. 

The semi truck rear-ended the bus, causing a massive fire which gutted the truck. 

Sean Grady, director of the Licking County Emergency Management Agency, said the charter bus was transporting students from a school in eastern Ohio. There were a total of 57 people onboard, he said.

Images taken from the scene show the rear of the bus completely engulfed in flames. 

Fifteen of the 18 injured are believed to be juveniles, and Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools said there may have been ‘serious injuries’ among the students. 

The accident occurred shortly before 9am on Interstate 70 West in Licking County, near the Smoke Road underpass

Licking County Emergency Management Agency Director Sean Grady said the charter bus, seen here engulfed in flames, was transporting students from a school in eastern Ohio

At least three people were killed and 15 injured following the incident early on Tuesday morning

Images taken from the scene show the rear of the bus completely engulfed in flames 

Other images captured by traffic cameras and shared by the Ohio Department of Transportation show the emergency response at the scene. 

Thick plumes of smoke can be seen emitting from the two vehicles, as a massive emergency services response works at the scene. 

Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, said his prayers go out to all involved in the crash and their families, and ordered flags to be flown at half staff.

‘This is our worst nightmare when we have a bus full of children involved in a crash and certainly the worst nightmare families can endure or a school can endure,’ he said.

He said the investigation into the crash will take some time. By 4:30pm on Tuesday, the eastbound highway had reopened but the westbound remained closed. 

The bus was carrying Tuscarawas Valley students and chaperones to an Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, Superintendent Derek Varansky said.

In a post to Facebook, Varansky said: ‘Today, a charter bus carrying Tusky Valley students and chaperones on the way to the Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus was involved in a very serious accident.

‘We understand from law enforcement that there may be multiple serious injuries and we are working to learn the details. 

‘We will share news with you as we are able, including our plans for upcoming school days and events.

‘Right now, our focus is on getting in touch with our Tusky Valley families who had loved ones on the bus and providing support to our entire school community. 

‘Our Trojan family is strong, and it will take that strength and love to get throughout these coming challenging days.’

Images captured by 10TV show how the rear of the bus was caught by the worst of the flames, while the semi-truck was completely decimated. 

The highway was closed in both directions on Tuesday after the 9am crash

Rescue workers are pictured on the scene on Tuesday in Ohio

Dozens of emergency personnel from across Licking County and eastern Franklin County were dispatched to the area on a report of a crash

Scanner traffic indicated that a tractor-trailer hit a commercial bus carrying dozens of passengers

A public safety notice was issued to drivers in the area of the crash, which noted that the closure would last several hours

A witness told ABC 6’s Kate Siefert at the scene that her 10-year-old granddaughter was very upset. 

‘They said they saw a firefighter go into the burning bus just before it exploded.’

The bus involved in the crash is from Pioneer Trails, a family-owned company operating for 40 years out of Millersburg, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Pioneer Trails said in a statement that the company ‘is fully cooperating with the authorities as we work to find the cause of the accident’ and sends prayers to the victims and their families.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said the estimated duration of how long the road will be closed is not known at this time

Mickey Lymon, an investigator with the Licking County Coroner´s Office, said they had been called to the scene, but deferred other questions to the state police. 

The American Red Cross of Central and Southern Ohio said it fulfilled a request for more blood from one hospital in the area, sending 30 units to a hospital in the Mount Carmel Health System, said Marita Salkowski, regional communications director. 

A center was set up at a United Methodist Church in Etna for bus passengers not in need of medical attention to go to and contact loved ones, she said. 

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