UPDATE: Eight killed, 14 injured as church bus overturns in Tennessee
The fatal wreck of a bus and a 18-wheeler is seen on Interstate 40 on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, near Dandridge. Photo by Paul Efird/News Sentinel
(WBIR - Jefferson County) A church bus from North Carolina was involved in a crash on I-40 Wednesday afternoon that killed at least eight people and injured several more, confirmed UT Medical Center.
A preliminary report from THP says eight people were killed. Six of those were passengers on the bus, one in the tractor trailer, and one in an SUV. They also say 14 people were injured. Four were transported by air to hospitals, eight were transported by ground to hospitals, and two were not transported.
UT Medical Center said they have received 11 victims from the crash. As of 5:15 pm, the hospital reported that seven of them were in critical condition, four were in serious condition, and they still had two more victims on the way.
THP says a passenger bus was traveling eastbound on I-40 near mile marker 423 when its left front tire blew out. It crossed the median and crashed into a tractor trailer and clipped a Tahoe SUV that was heading westbound. They say the tractor trailer immediately caught fireand the bus overturned. The accident happened around 2 p.m.
An EMS official told 10News 20 ambulancesand five helicopters responded from multiple counties. UT Medical Center says they were taking in 13 patients from the scene, three of which were flown in by Lifestar.
The bus was from Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, North Carolina. Dionne Stutts from the church confirmed the bus was on its way back from Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg. She says the group on board is called "The Young at Heart" and they're mostly ages 55 and up. They have several church members on the way to the scene.
The American Red Cross has provided a contact number for individuals who may have had loved ones involved in this afternoon's bus crash in Jefferson County (TN). Those individuals can contact 865-305-5716 for more information.