A packed school bus plunged off a New York highway on Thursday, killing two adults and seriously injuring several others.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said it was likely that “a faulty front tire contributed to the accident.”
Ms Hochul said five or six other people were critically injured. One of the dead was a faculty adviser for the school’s band program.
The bus was only about 30 minutes from its destination when the wreck happened a little after 1 pm, about 30 miles away from the band camp where students were headed.
The two adults who died were the high school’s band director, Gina Pellettiere, 43, and a retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari, 77.
Dozens of students suffered minor bumps and bruises and were seen walking around the scene after the crash.
“Imagine the fear, the screams in the aftermath. These high school students, many of them freshmen, were surrounded by this chaos,” Ms Hochul said.
Farmingdale student Anthony Eugenio, 15, said he was asleep on the bus when he felt a thud and awoke to what he thought was a dream or nightmare.
“Then everyone was yelling," he told the Associated Press. “The kid next to me was covered in blood. I saw blood everywhere."
Aerial footage broadcast from the crash scene showed the coach-style bus on its side amid trees and brush at the bottom of an embankment between the east and westbound lanes of the divided highway.
The bus appeared largely intact, with debris from the vehicle strewn nearby. Students on the other buses returned to Long Island hours after the crash.
Bruce Blakeman, the county executive in Nassau County, where Farmingdale High School is located, asked that people please “pray for the injured."