Police in Chattanooga have confirmed that multiple children were killed in a crash Monday afternoon involving a school bus filled with elementary school children.
As of 6:30 p.m., District Attorney Neal Pinkston said there 6 fatalities, which included five deaths at the scene and one at the hospital. However, Chattanooga Police say they can not confirm that number.
Officials said there were 35 students on board and 23 patients were transported to the hospital after what was described as a “horrible” crash.
The crash comes nearly two years after a deadly school bus crash in Knox County. That deadly December 2014 crash killed two young students and a teacher’s aide.
Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said there were kindergarten through fifth grade students on the bus.
“A bus crash involving school children is every public safety professional’s worst nightmare. But it’s also the thing that we all train for and you have police, fire, EMS, and our partners out here doing everything they can to rescue victims and support the families of those who’ve already been treated,” Chief Fletcher said.
Chattanooga blood donation centers put out a plea for donations following the deadly crash.
The community quickly answered that call.
Dozens were seen waiting in line to donate blood at one of the centers, according to a reporter from the NBC-affiliate WRCB.
The Chattanooga Fire Department said around 5:30 p.m. that the last patient was extricated from the bus.
The school bus driver is cooperating with police and their investigation, Fletcher said during a press conference.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott sent his condolences to the families.
“My heart goes out to the families of the children that were killed & injured in the school bus crash in Chattanooga this evening,” Trott tweeted.
School officials said the bus was from Woodmore Elementary.
The fire department described it on Twitter as “very serious” and Chattanooga’s mayor called it “horrible.”