Driver dies when tour bus carrying Texas students plunges into ravine

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LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) An Alabama state trooper says the driver was killed when a tour bus carrying Channelview High School students home from a Disney World trip plunged into a ravine.

(CNN VAN photo)

Many others were injured in the Tuesday morning crash near the Alabama-Florida line on Interstate 10.

About 45 people were aboard the bus.

The injured were taken to Alabama and Florida hospitals, Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack said.

Mack says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 at around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and then fell into the 50-foot ravine.

It wasn't immediately clear why.

The crash closed down the interstate in both directions.

In a statement, First Class Tours, which owns the bus, said its prayers are with the injured and their families.

The company pledged its assistance in cooperating with authorities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Tuesday expressing sympathy to the students and their families.

"I pray for a speedy recovery for all those injured, and I am especially grateful for the heroic actions of the Alabama first responders that undoubtedly helped save lives today,” he said.

“Texas is prepared to offer any assistance necessary as we rally around the entire Channelview High School community during this difficult time."

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that in past two years, the company that owns the bus has been involved in four other crashes, with one of those also involving a fatality.

No one was injured or killed in the other three crashes involving First Class Tours Inc.

The agency's records don't indicate fault.

According to a Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report, the previous crash involving a fatality took place in May 2017 in Houston, when one of the company's buses failed to yield the right of way as it turned left and fatally struck a pedestrian who was in a crosswalk.