A student and a teacher were killed and 43 others injured when the school bus with preteens on a field trip collided with the truck, ripping the bus apart and leaving students dangling by seat belts, officials say.
The crash left the bus lying on its side on the guardrail with its undercarriage and front end sheared off and its steering wheel exposed.
The students - fifth-graders at East Brook Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey - were on the way to a field trip at the time of the collision, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said at a news conference from the middle school. "All other individuals injured in this crash have been transported to local hospitals for care".
The bus was taking students from East Brook Middle School to Waterloo Village, a historic site depicting a Lenape Indian community and once-thriving port about 5 miles from the crash scene.
The bus was carrying middle school students from the town of Paramus when the incident took place, USA Today reports. The dump truck seemed to be mostly intact.
Officials said the bus driver is a district employee, and the school bus is owned by the Paramus Public Schools. The truck was registered to Mendez Trucking, of Belleville, and had "In God We Trust" emblazoned on the back of it, the AP reported. The children were wearing seat belts, police said.
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The bus was among a group of three transporting students to Waterloo Village, a history site about five miles from the scene of the crash, for a fifth-grade class trip.
Dozens of people from the bus and the truck driver have been hospitalized.
"People were screaming and some were hanging from their seatbelts", said the boy, who was among the 21 passengers taken to Morristown Medical Center; he was later released.
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"Some patients are in critical condition and now undergoing surgery, so please keep everybody in your prayers", Murphy said.
"There's an incredible emergency response from throughout Morris County and by State Police. We also thank the first responders who did a tremendous job".
"We would like to thank the Paramus Community for their support during this very hard time", the school district said on its website. "It's tragic", he told reporters.
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After gathering information about the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said it would not be investigating what happened. She taught in the school district for more than 20 years.