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NTSB: Students in second charter bus may have witnessed deadly crash

Photo Source: WEAR

4:00 p.m. News Conference:

Pete Kotowski, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator in Charge, briefed the local press on updates to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday's charter bus crash on Interstate 10 in Baldwin County, Ala.

According to Kotowski, the NTSB Go Team arrived in Baldwin County Tuesday night and began to gather information about the crash, which they will continue to do for the next 7-10 days.

Kotowski was able to provide only preliminary information, stating that the bus began its trip from Orlando to Houston at 10:00 p.m. on Monday and was scheduled to meet a relief driver in Mobile. This was only the motorcoach's second-ever trip.

According to Kotowski, bus drivers are authorized to drive for ten hours and can be on duty for 14 hours.

He stated during the briefing, "The driver placement would have been adequate to maintain hours of service as scheduled."

An NTSB motor carrier operations group will examine the bus carrier company, First Class Tours, at their facility in Houston starting Thursday. The carrier has been involved in four crashes in 24 months

Kotowski also stated that the objective of the NTSB team is to gather enough information to make safety recommendations to state and federal agencies, vehicle manufacturers, and vehicle component manufacturers in order to prevent another incident like Tuesday's crash from happening again.

He also emphasized that it was not the goal of the NTSB team to determine the probable cause of the crash.

“Our investigation is a safety investigation, versus typically what you have in a law enforcement investigation is 'who’s the primary cause of the crash and what caused it'," explained Kotowski, adding, "ours is 'why did the crash occur', more so than who caused the crash.”

Kotowski said it will take 12-14 months to complete the investigation. The NTSB team activities groups will be lead by experts in highway, vehicle, and human performance issues to determine what highway factors, human performance, survival factors may have contributed to the crash.

"Oftentimes we find- and this has been true in other modes of transportation- that is isn’t just one single event or one single circumstance; oftentimes it’s a number of events or circumstances that all collectively come together and the result is a crash," said Kotowski.

NTSB is working with ADOT, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, and Alabama State Troopers during the ongoing investigation.

Watch the full press conference below:

Original Story:

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on the investigation of Tuesday's charter bus crash on Interstate 10 in Baldwin County, Ala.

A charter bus carrying students from the Channelview High School band from Channelview, Texas was traveling west on I-10 at 5:33 a.m. when it left the roadway and traveled into the median before going down an embankment.

The crash, which happened approximately three miles east of Wilcox, Ala. resulted in multiple injuries and killed the bus driver, Harry Caligone of Houston.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene of the crash to transport the injured passengers to various local hospitals in Baldwin County and to Sacred Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.

Students who were not injured in the Interstate 10 bus crash in Baldwin County on Tuesday were taken to a church in Daphne to wait for their parents to pick them up.

NTSB will hold a briefing outside Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency in Robertsdale, Ala. at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday to provide details of the crash investigation.

Channel 3 News will stream the press conference live at 4:00 p.m. CST on Facebook, Twitter, and on the WEAR-TV website.


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