Local News


Church bus taking students to mission trip crashes, killing 1

Posted at 3:53 AM, Jun 09, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) — A church bus carrying Alabama high school students on their way to a mission trip in Africa crashed near Atlanta, killing one person and injuring several others, authorities said.

The Mount Zion Baptist Church bus from Huntsville, Alabama, was headed to the airport Thursday afternoon when it collided with another vehicle on a four-lane road, Fulton County Police Cpl. Partrena Smith said. Dozens of high school students and adults were on board.

Smith said at least 10 people were hurt, including two critically. Fulton County Fire Chief Larry Few said 21 people were hurt. The Associated Press couldn't immediately determine the discrepancy in the number of injuries.

Smith said there were two people in the car involved in the crash, but she wasn't sure of their conditions.

Images from the scene showed the bus on its roof and another car underneath it. The parkway where the crash occurred was completely closed and firetrucks and ambulances swarmed the area near Atlanta's airport.

Grady Memorial Hospital said it received nine patients. Of those, four were critical, three were in fair condition and one was listed as stable. Grady officials say other hospitals in the area — Atlanta Medical Center and Southern Regional Medical Center — also received patients but they didn't know how many.

Telephone calls to those facilities seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Church education minister Terry Slay told Atlanta station WXIA-TV that the bus was carrying 11th- and 12th-graders, along with adults who were going on a an international mission trip.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong tells Huntsville station WAAY-TVthat a teen girl died as a result of the bus wreck.

Madison County Schools spokesman John Southerland said several Sparkman High School students were hurt, some with broken bones. The girl who died was not a student in the district, he said.

Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver's wife and son were on the bus. He says both are safe.

"We know they're all right, we know we've been blessed," he told reporters outside the church.

Vandiver said he spoke with both shortly after the accident but neither could provide any real details. "He was rather shook," he said of his son. "He just told me him and his mama were fine."

The church asked people for prayers on its Facebook page.

Smith said the National Transportation Safety Board is handling the investigation moving forward.