AUTHORITIES: Tractor-trailer in I-40 crash caught fire – multiple fatalities/injures. Happened in Jefferson County. pic.twitter.com/fGQbaYiGyv
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) October 2, 2013
The crash saw a busy section of interstate closed to several hours, with sources from Tennessee reporting that many of the victims were from a church group en route to a gospel festival.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Passenger Bus is Reported to Have Crossed the Median, Crashed and Overturned
Early reports say that the crash involved a passenger bus and a tractor trailer. Tennessee Safety Department Spokeswoman Dalya Qualls told The Daily Times: “the bus was traveling in northeast Tennessee when it crossed the median and struck the other two vehicles. The tractor-trailer caught fire and the bus overturned.”
#Breaking Update: (AP) – Authorities say a tire on a church bus blew out and the bus hit a tractor-trailer and sport utility vehicle in TN.
— Paul Gourley (@pgourleyEP) October 2, 2013
2. Eight People Are Reported to Have Been Killed
In addition to the dead, ten people have been taken to area hospitals with serious injuries. A spokesperson for the East Knoxville Children’s Hospital has said that they have received no patients.
3. The Vehicle Was a Church Bus
According to a state trooper, who was speaking to NBC News, the church was travelling from North Carolina. WBTV reports that the bus is from Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, North Carolina (below).
4. Interstate 40 is Closed
The crash occurred at around 2 p.m. local time along Interstate 40 heading west. The Interstate is shut down in both directions with troopers and emergency personnel on scene. WBIR reports: “20 ambulances and 5 helicopters responded from multiple counties.” Roads in the area around Interstate 40 are expected to be closed for the foreseeable future.
The crash is reported to have happened around here:
5. A Huge Plume of Smoke Could Be Seen From Miles Around
A producer from News Sentinel in the area was in Jefferson City, less than a mile from the site of the crash, he says:
I saw a huge plume of smoke and I started seeing semis drive by. I thought, ‘There must have been a big wreck and they’re diverting traffic.