The Latest: NTSB says bus involved in crash was new

LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the crash of a charter bus carrying members of a high school band (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

An investigator says the charter bus involved in a fatal crash in Alabama was new and making only its second trip.

Pete Kotowski of the National Transportation Safety Board briefed the media on the early stages of the investigation Wednesday.

Authorities say bus driver Harry Caligone was the only person to die in the crash, which happened early Tuesday on Interstate 10 east of Mobile, Alabama. About three dozen passengers were taken to hospitals for treatment.

The bus was traveling from Florida to Texas with a high school band at the time.

Kotowski says the driver was scheduled to meet a relief driver in Mobile before the wreck. He says that’s a normal procedure, and the driver hadn’t exceeded the number of hours he was allowed to drive.


12:20 p.m.

Alabama state troopers say they hope a medical examiner can help investigators determine what caused a charter bus driver to lose control and crash while driving a high school band back to Texas from Florida.

The driver, Harry Caligone, died in the crash, and a student who was on board the bus says the band director was calling the driver’s name before the wreck.

Aerial photos of the scene don’t show any apparent skid marks before the bus left the roadway and entered the median and plunging down a concrete embankment.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it has six investigators on hand. It is planning a Wednesday afternoon news briefing.

Forty-six students and adults from Channelview High School near Houston were aboard the bus.


8:55 a.m.

At least nine people remain hospitalized following the crash of a charter bus carrying members of a high school band from Texas.

A spokeswoman for Infirmary Health in Mobile, Alabama, says four people were listed in stable condition in two of the company’s hospitals early Wednesday.

Five people are still hospitalized at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. A spokesman says two are in serious condition and three in good condition.

A bus wrecked early Tuesday in south Alabama as it carried 46 students and adults from Channelview High School in suburban Houston. The group was headed home following a performance at Disney World.


10:42 p.m.

One minute members of the Texas high school band were sleeping soundly on an early morning bus trip home from a much-anticipated trip to a music festival at Disney World. The next minute their bus was plunging into a ravine so steep rescuers had to rappel down to them.

The crash tossed students around the vehicle and killed the driver.

Relatives identified the driver, Harry Caligone, as a caring man who was “dedicated to his job.” About three dozen others on the bus were hurt, six seriously, authorities and the bus company said. Interstate 10 was blocked for hours where the accident occurred between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, but survivors from Channelview High School in metro Houston described being asleep one moment and tumbling through the air the next.’


Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama, and Anderson from Loxley. Associated Press contributors include Bill Kaczor in Pensacola, Florida; David Warren in Dallas; Michael Graczyk in Channelview, Texas; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; and Jamie Stengle in Dallas.

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