Officials in Tennessee said there were “multiple fatalities” in a school bus crash Monday in Chattanooga.

More than 20 people were taken to local hospitals after the crash, the city’s fire department wrote on Twitter. Police Chief Fred Fletcher told The Associated Press that 35 children were aboard the bus when the crash occurred.

Fletcher told reporters that the fatal incident was a single-vehicle crash that involved only the bus, the wire service reported. Fletcher says the bus driver was questioned.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, citing the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office, reported that there were six confirmed fatalities in the aftermath, but a spokesperson for the DA’s office told The Post in an email Monday night that she did not have an exact count for the fatalities, and wasn’t sure where that information came from.

“Our hearts go out, as well as the heart’s of all the people around me, to the family, the neighborhood, the school and all the people involved in this,” Fletcher, who was standing with local officials, told the Times Free Press. “We assure you we’re doing everything we can to help everybody be as safe as they can, get the care they need and get the support they need.”

According to the newspaper, Fletcher called the situation “every public safety professional’s worst nightmare.”

The Times Free Press described the crash scene and aftermath in its report, noting that two students could be seen on stretchers, which were in a yard. The report continued:

Others who weren’t rushed to the hospital walked away clutching their parents’ hands, looking dazed with cuts on their faces.

Pictures posted to social media showed the bus on its side, apparently split by a large tree, or wrapped around it.

When asked whether speed or alcohol was involved in the crash, Fletcher on Monday night told reporters those factors were part of the investigation, and added: “certainly, speed is being investigated very, very strongly as a factor in this crash.”

“It was clear and dry, you saw the conditions today,” he said. “There did not appear to be any roadway conditions. But it is a complicated crime scene. It covers a significant area. I can’t tell you if there were any issues, there were none that jumped out. Right now it appears that one contributing factor may be speed. But that is part of an active, ongoing investigation.”


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