Nine people were killed and dozens injured Thursday in a collision near Chico involving a FedEx truck and a charter bus carrying high school students from Southern California.
The crash happened on Interstate 5 north of Highway 32 in the community of Orland in Glenn County, located about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The FedEx truck was heading southbound when it crossed the center divider and crashed head on into the bus, the California Highway Patrol told local TV station KRCR. Both vehicles exploded in flames. There were reports that a third vehicle may have been involved in the crash. But what role it played was not known.
Aerial video of the charred wreckage showed the scope of the devastation.
On the ground, video showed dozens of students wandering near the burned-out remains of the tour bus, many appearing dazed, others were bleeding from cuts to their hands and faces.
Rescuers could be seen helping several students to waiting ambulances. It was not clear how many students were hospitalized or the extent of their injuries.
The drivers of the FedEx truck and the charter bus were among the dead, according to the Associated Press.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate,” FedEx spokeswoman Bonnie Kourvelas said in a statement.
The trip involved student from the Los Angeles Unified School District, but Superintendent John Deasy told KTLA the trip was not organized by the district.
Deasy said students from Robert F. Kennedy, Manual Arts and Augustus Hawkins high schools may have been traveling on the three buses that left Los Angeles this morning.
“We were deeply saddened to learn about the tragic accident that took place earlier today near Humboldt State University,” Deasy said in a statement. “At this time, we do not know how many L.A. Unified students were victims of the crash. We are providing support at the site. We will be providing support at District schools tomorrow morning.”
.@LASchoolPolice|#LAPD extends thoughts & prayers to all those affected by this tragedy.We mourn for the lives lost & pray for those injured
— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) April 11, 2014
Humboldt State University confirmed the students on the bus were headed to the Northern California campus for the school’s April 12 “Spring Preview Day.”
“Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, and we are here to support them, and their families, in any way possible,” University President Rollin Richmond said in a statement.
The university also set up a website where parents can get the latest updates on the crash.
In addition, the Red Cross created a “Safe and Well” website where family members and students and chaperones traveling on the bus can get in touch.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
NTSB is sending a Go-Team to Northern California to investigate a bus crash that occurred yesterday. Team expected to arrive in morning.
— NTSB (@NTSB) April 11, 2014
CNN contributed to this story.