Two San Diego-area students survived a fiery Northern California bus crash that killed five other high-schoolers and five adults, authorities reported today.
The local boys, both of whom suffered minor injuries, attend Gompers Preparatory Academy in Chollas View and Valhalla High School in the East County, near El Cajon, district officials confirmed.
More than three dozen students from four Southern California counties were en route to tour Humboldt State University when the bus collided with a big rig on Interstate 5 near the town of Orland about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The adults killed in the crash included the two drivers and three chaperones accompanying Los Angeles-area high school seniors, the CHP reported. Forty-four students were aboard.
In an interview with CBS8, Valhalla senior Harley Hoyt described himself as "beyond fortunate" to have survived the wreck.
"I don't care about any of my material things that I lost," he said. "I'm glad I have my life. I know my angels are riding with me."
The teen called the experience "just crazy" and "utter chaos."
"I look up and I see ... there's a FedEx truck coming straight for us, a big semi," he said. "It's like, 'Oh, gosh.' The bus driver slams on the brakes. I fly forward. Everyone flies forward. No one has seat belts on."
He said he wound up dazed amid screams, realizing he had "bit a hole" through his lip in the impact.
"My clothes were drenched in blood, my own blood," he said. "People got huge gouges in their eyes. I know people broke some (bones). I know people got concussions."
In a posting on the school's website, Gompers Preparatory Academy administrators said they were "deeply saddened by the tragic accident."
"While this was not part of a GPA-organized field trip, one GPA student was traveling on the bus involved in the accident," according to the statement. "We are relieved to report that our student sustained only minor injuries in this crash. He was treated at a hospital overnight, released this morning and returning to San Diego today with his family."
The teen's name was not released.
Nineteen of the students involved in the crash were from 16 Los Angeles Unified School District campuses -- San Fernando, Grant, Dorsey, Fremont, City of Angels, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Manual Arts, Banning, Carson, Chavez, Diego Rivera, Belmont, Wilson, Chatsworth, Jefferson, and Middle College.
Also aboard the bus were several students from Riverside County, Long Beach, El Monte and Orange County.
A total of 34 of the bus occupants were hospitalized, CHP spokeswoman Tracy Hoover said. More than 15 of those patients were being treated for major injuries.
The collision occurred when a southbound big rig towing two trailers crossed into the northbound lanes, sideswiping a car and colliding head-on with the tour bus.
The owner of the bus, Silverado Stages of San Luis Obispo, stated on its website said it was helping authorities gather information regarding the accident and that its "top priority" was "making sure the injured are being cared for."
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were sent to the site to gather evidence.
—City News Service