Bus carrying Texas students plunges into Alabama ravine

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Authorities hope to reopen the highway by noon (1 p.m. ET), said Alabama State Trooper Capt. John Malone.

Many others were injured in the Tuesday morning crash near the Alabama-Florida line on Interstate 10.

Helicopter at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.

The passengers are band members from Channelview High School in Texas, according to WKRG.

One person was hospitalized in critical condition and five others were listed in serious condition, Baldwin County Sheriff's officials said. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency tells FOX10 News the fatality was the bus driver.

The bus was traveling west, carrying the students home from Central Florida when it drove into the median on Interstate 10 and then into the ravine at Cowpen Creek, about 5:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET), Mack said. Another station, WRKG, reported the bus was full of students returning to Houston, Texas from a school trip.

"We have multiple injuries; the bus went down into a ravine", Baldwin County commissioner Chris Elliott told the Associated Press.

Officials say the bus was returning to Houston from a school trip to Disney World.

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Several hospitals were placed on alert for the injured.

Mack said the bus was lying on its side, about 50 feet down the ravine. Between 12 to 20 people were injured and one person died in the early morning incident. He could not provide information about the extent of their injuries or conditions.

Multiple people were transported by ambulances and helicopters to about 10 hospitals from Pensacola to Mobile. A second bus with band students was not involved.

The Sheriff's Office has established a call center for family members to help locate loved ones.

A hotline was set up for Texas family members to call for a status update: 251-972-6807. According to CBS News affiliate WKRG-TV, the bus driver was killed in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will send six investigators to investigate the crash.

First Class Tours, which owns the vehicle involved in the accident pledged their "assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation".

We will be updating this story throughout the morning and day.

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