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2 adults killed, multiple students injured after bus headed to band camp event crashes in New York

By Rob Frehse, Artemis Moshtaghian and Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) — Two adults were killed and multiple students were injured after their bus “tumbled down a 50-foot ravine,” Thursday on Interstate 84 in Orange County, New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in an evening news conference.

The commercial bus was carrying 40 students from Farmingdale High School and four adults, Lt. Colonel Richard L. Mazzone, of the New York State Police, said during the news conference.

Mazzone identified the two people who lost their lives as Gina Pellettiere, 43 and Beatrice Ferrari, 77.

There were several serious injuries, including five critical, Mazzone said Thursday evening. He did not offer further details on the injuries, but said they have been transported to six area hospitals. Earlier, an official with the Wawayanda Fire Company told CNN more than 40 people were injured in the accident.

“Preliminary information indicates a failure of a front tire may have been a contributing factor to this accident,” Mazzone added. A probe into the crash remains ongoing.

Authorities responded to the crash at about 1:12 p.m. Thursday, Hochul said.

“Imagine the fear, the screams and the aftermath when these high school students – many of them freshmen – were surrounded by this chaos,” Hochul said. With the help of first responders and rescuers, the students were removed from the bus and brought to safety within 45 minutes, the governor added.

The bus was headed to a music event for band camp, a spokesperson from the high school confirmed to CNN.

They were on their way to Greeley, Pennsylvania, the school said in a statement.

“We were informed that there had been an accident with Bus 1 en route to Greeley, PA for band camp,” Farmingdale High School spokesperson Jake Mendlinger told CNN. “Police and emergency responders are on the scene, as well as district administration.”

The bus was one of six headed to a band camp event in Pennsylvania, the Farmingdale School District said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Aerial pictures from CNN affiliates Thursday afternoon showed a passenger bus in the woods, in the median, between the eastbound and westbound roads. Emergency officials were seen at the site of the crash while a medical helicopter was also parked on the highway nearby.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bus crash and their families,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said in a statement to CNN. “I would also like to thank all of the first responders for their immediate response, service and dedication.”

I-84 is shut down at exit 15A with detours in place, state police said, adding, “Interstate 84 westbound is expected to be closed for several hours.”

In her news conference, Hochul called Thursday “a day of terror” and said the state was grieving the tragedy.

“Certainly, there are families grieving today,” she said. “We have families, we have a school, a school district, a county and indeed an entire state that is grieving at this time.”

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Laura Dolan, Jessica Xing, Zenebou Sylla and Maria Sole Campinoti contributed to this report.

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