Truck slams into bus carrying California high school students, at least 9 killed

Rescue workers, police and firefighters survey the scene where a truck and a tour bus collided on Interstate 5 near Highway 32 near Orland, California on April 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
Rescue workers, police and firefighters survey the scene where a truck and a tour bus collided on Interstate 5 near Highway 32 near Orland, California on April 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At least nine people were killed and 32 injured on Thursday when a tour bus carrying high school students collided with a FedEx truck in Northern California, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) spokesman said.

The crash occurred after the truck driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed over a divider on Interstate 5 and then slammed into a passenger vehicle and then the tour bus, CHP spokesman Fran Clader said.

Ms Clader said the bus was carrying high school students and other passengers to Humboldt State University for a tour. The crash took place near the community of Orland, about 150km north of Sacramento.

She said 32 of the injured were taken to hospitals in the area. Their condition was not immediately known. Interstate 5 was closed in both directions and was not expected to reopen until early Friday morning.

Pictures from the scene showed the bus reduced to a burned-out chassis and resting sideways across the highway.

A spokesman for FedEx Corp said the company was aware of media reports that one of its trucks had crashed into a tour bus in California.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California," said spokesman Bonnie Kourvelas. "We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate."

She said the condition of the truck's driver was unknown.

Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond said in the students, from Southern California, had been due to visit the college campus on Friday.

"Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, and we are here to support them, and their families, in any way possible," he said in a written statement.