Ten people, including nine children, died Saturday in a fiery two-vehicle crash in storm-drenched Butler County, Alabama, according to local authorities.
Cops said the two vehicles — an SUV carrying a father and daughter and a small bus hauling girls from Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch — likely hydroplaned on I-65’s wet roads just before 2:30 p.m. as Tropical Storm Claudette plowed through the region, AL.com reported.
The father and daughter, identified by the county coroner as Cody Fox, 29, and 9-month-old Ariana, were killed, as were eight girls who were traveling in the bus.
Garlock said a bystander successfully pulled the bus driver from the vehicle, but that, “It was too late to get back to [the girls] because the bus was engulfed in fire.”
Authorities have not released the names of the girls, who ranged in age from 4 to 17, according to AL.com.
Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch is a long-term residential facility for “school-age girls from troubled backgrounds,” according to its website. Many of the bus passengers were in the care of the state.
Fox worked in emergency management in his home county of Marion County, Tennessee, authorities said.
Multiple people were also injured, according to Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond.
The Girls Ranch asked for “prayers” in a Facebook post at 10 p.m. on Saturday.
“Our hearts are heavy today. Our ranch has suffered great loss. As some of you may have hear, one of our ranch vehicles was involved in a multiple car accident this afternoon,” the statement said.
“Please send prayers our way as we navigate this difficult time.”
The girls attended Reeltown High School in Tallapoosa County, WBRC said.
Claudette dumped as much as 12 inches of rain along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, causing dangerous flash flooding in northern Georgia, most of South Carolina, the North Carolina coast, parts of southeast Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
With Post wires