Mile marker 191 along I-35
Wellsville A school bus carrying nearly 30 children crashed Saturday in eastern Kansas, injuring nine children including one who was flown to a hospital with critical injuries, authorities said.
The children were on their way back to Missouri from a church camp when their bus rolled along Interstate 35 near Wellsville about 10 a.m., according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.
“It was a fiasco when I got there,” said Trooper Neil Stanley, who was the first trooper on the scene. “Whenever you get the call from a school bus, it’s pretty scary.”
Eight children were taken to local hospitals in ambulances with injuries that ranged from possible broken bones and back and neck pain, and one child was airlifted to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., Stanley said.
He did not know the condition of the child who was flown to the hospital, and a hospital spokeswoman said she could not confirm that the child was being treated there.
The cause of the accident is under investigation. But Stanley said the bus, which was headed back to Missouri from a Baptist church camp in rural Franklin County, appeared to have overcorrected and then rolled, ending up on its side in the northbound lanes of the highway.
There were 34 people on the bus, including the driver, four teenage counselors and 29 children, who ranged in age from 8 to 15.
Stanley said most of the children had cuts and bruises, and some of those taken to hospitals complained of back and neck pain. “It was just because they were tossed around in the bus,” he said.
Several children were crying and asking for their parents when he arrived. Some wanted cell phones so they could call home, he said.
“We tried to do what we could until the ambulance arrived,” he said, adding that the bus driver’s children were also on the bus, but the extent of their injuries was not known.
Several people who saw the accident stopped and started helping the children.
“A lot of volunteers just came up, and people who were just moms and dads and who just wanted to help,” he said.
It was unclear where in Missouri the bus was headed, Stanley said.