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ORLAND, Glenn County (CBS SF) — At least nine people have been killed in a fiery crash involving a tour bus carrying high school students, a FedEx truck, and a sedan on Interstate 5 in Northern California Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash took place at 5:42 p.m. on the highway near Orland in Glenn County, about 100 miles north of Sacramento and 20 miles west of Chico.
Authorities told a reporter with Chico CBS affiliate KHSL-TV that the bus was traveling northbound on I-5 when the FedEx truck, which was traveling southbound, crossed over into the northbound lanes.
Raw Video: Scene Of Crash
CHP spokesperson Tracy Hoover said the truck sideswiped the sedan, which was in front of the bus, before striking the bus head on. Both the truck and the bus went up in flames moments after the collision.
The CHP said Thursday night that the people killed include the driver of the FedEx truck, the bus driver, and seven others.
Hoover said 34 people have been taken to the hospital. There were 48 people on board the bus.
The injured were taken to at least seven hospitals in the area, authorities said. Meanwhile, the uninjured students were transported to Memorial Hall on Monterey and 3rd St. in Orland, where the Red Cross has set up a shelter.
The CHP told KHSL-TV that the bus was carrying a group of high school seniors from the Los Angeles area who were planning to tour Humboldt State University in Arcata.
In a written statement, Humboldt State University said the bus was transporting prospective students to the school’s Spring Preview Day.
“Humboldt State University is deeply saddened,” school president Rollin Richmond said in the statement. “Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, and we are here to support them, and their families, in any way possible.”
The school said parents and family members of students on the bus can contact their information line at (707) 826-6327.
Late Thursday night, the school said the bus involved in the crash was among three buses carrying students to Humboldt State. The other two buses, one from the Los Angeles area and another from the Fresno Area, have made it to the school. Those students are staying at residence halls on campus and the university said they are providing counseling and support.
FedEx also released a statement Thursday night, which said “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate.”
Raw Video: CHP Briefing On Crash
Both directions of Interstate 5 were closed in the Orland area Thursday evening. Traffic in the area is being detoured around the crash scene through Orland and Highway 99. The CHP has suggested Highway 99 and U.S. 101 as alternate routes.
“Our investigation team that’s going to reconstruct the scene, find out what happened,” Hoover said. “They’ll be here doing measurements…pictures, all night long.”
On Thursday night, the CHP estimated the wreckage on Interstate 5 won’t be cleared until 7:00 a.m. Friday.