(Reuters) – Two people died and 43 were injured when a school bus filled with fifth-graders collided with a dump truck on a major highway in New Jersey on Thursday, the state’s governor said.
The crash, which occurred about 10:20 a.m., occurred in Mount Olive Township in northern New Jersey’s Morris County, Governor Phil Murphy told a news conference. The bus was carrying 38 students and seven adults, including the driver.
“Some patients are in critical condition and currently undergoing surgery, so please keep everybody in your prayers,” said Murphy, adding that one student and one adult had died.
“There is an awful lot we just don’t know,” the governor added.
Citing unnamed sources, New York NBC affiliate News 4 reported that a student and an adult chaperone died. NorthJersey.com said the adult killed was a teacher at East Brook Middle School in Paramus.
The injured were being treated at hospitals, Paramus Public Schools said on Facebook
Images posted on social media showed the remnants of a yellow school bus on its side in the grassy median strip dividing the east and westbound lanes of busy Interstate 80. The front engine compartment of the bus appeared to have been sheared off, and the body of the bus was separated from the chassis, which remained on the highway.
The crash shut all westbound lanes of I-80, State Police said.
The fifth-graders had been on a class trip to Waterloo Village, a restored 19th-century village in neighboring Sussex County, according to Paramus Council President Holly Tedesco, who spoke at an earlier news conference.
Two other buses also carrying fifth-graders from the school safely returned to the school, she said.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents involving buses, was gathering information on the crash, the agency said on Twitter.
Paramus is about 10 miles west of Upper Manhattan. Mount Olive is about 40 miles west of Paramus.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis