KEY POINTS

  • Eight children on a bus died after the vehicle caught on fire following the crash
  • Authorities believe one of the vehicles involved in the crash hydroplaned
  • National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation into the crash

A crash on the Alabama interstate involving 18 vehicles Saturday killed nine children and an adult, following bad weather. 

According to the authorities, the incident unfolded around 2:30 p.m. local time (3.30 p.m. ET) on Interstate 65 in Butler County. Two tractor-trailer rigs had crashed and sandwiched between them a bus from Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch, a home for abused, neglected and abandoned girls. Following this, an SUV carrying 29-year-old Cody Fox and his 9-month-old daughter crashed nearby. Fox died at the scene and his daughter succumbed in the hospital, reported ABC News

Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond called the crash a "domino effect." Authorities believe one of the vehicles involved in the crash hydroplaned as most of the region was drenched due to tropical storm Claudette.

CNN producer Lacey Willis, who witnessed the scene while returning from a holiday, said there was a lot of water on the road even though "it wasn't downpouring" when the crash occurred.

“Butler County has had one of the most terrible traffic accidents that I believe is the worst ever in our county. Many vehicles were involved, many injuries and even deaths,” wrote the Butler County Sheriff’s office on Facebook.

Eight other children between the ages of 4 to 17 on the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch bus died during the accident. The driver, Candice Gulley, whose two children were among the dead, was rescued by a bystander. The police stated the bystanders tried to reach the kids, but the bus was already on fire.

“My heart goes out to the loved ones of all who perished during the storm in Butler & Tuscaloosa counties. Let’s keep these families, communities & first responders lifted in prayer,” tweeted Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. She marked it as a “tragic day.”

Other people involved in the crash did not sustain any life-threatening injury, reported ABC News. 

"Our hearts are so heavy today. Our Ranch family has suffered a great loss. As many of you may have heard, one of our Ranch vehicles was involved in a multiple car accident yesterday afternoon. It is such a horrible tragedy and loss," stated Michael Smith, chief executive officer of Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches on Facebook.

The National Transportation Safety Board in coordination with the Alabama Highway Patrol will conduct a safety investigation of the crash. 

car crash Representational image Photo: Pixabay