Chattanooga: A bus carrying elementary school students crashed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Monday, killing at least six children and sending 23 people to a local hospital with injuries, authorities said.
Five children were found dead on the bus after the crash, which occurred at about 4 p.m. CST (2100 GMT), and another died at a hospital, said Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County District Attorney`s office.
Two hours later, rescue teams were still going through the yellow school bus, which was resting on its side, wrapped around a tree. The vehicle was nearly severed in half, Clewell said.
There are two or three children at the hospital "who could go either way," she said.
The bus normally carried 35 children, Clewell said. The students were in kindergarten through fifth grade, which would make them roughly ages 5 to 10.
The bus driver is being questioned and cooperating with investigators, the Chattanooga Police said on Twitter. Prosecutors have requested a blood sample from him, the district attorney`s spokeswoman said.
"He left the scene in a police car and they took him down to police headquarters," Clewell said.
School officials had not found any complaints filed against the driver, she said.
Blood Assurance, a regional blood centre, said on Twitter that blood and platelets were needed to care for the accident victims.
Two bloodied students were lying on stretchers in a front yard nearly an hour after the crash receiving attention from first responders, while others not taken to the hospital appeared dazed with cuts on their faces, the Chattanooga Times Free Press newspaper said on its website.
Asked about the crash after a hearing in Nashville, Governor Bill Haslam said the state would offer its assistance.
"It`s a sad situation anytime there`s a school bus with children involved, which there is in this case," he said.