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2 Students Said Killed in Ala. Bus Crash

November 20, 2006

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ A school bus carrying high school students veered off an interstate and crashed 30 feet below an overpass Monday, killing at least two students and causing numerous injuries, seven described as critical, school officials said.

Keith Ward, a spokesman for Huntsville city schools, confirmed that at least two students died. More than 30 students were aboard the bus when it plunged off I-565, with most either taken to hospitals or treated at the scene.

Seven suffered injuries listed as critical, state Department of Education spokeswoman Brooke Thorington said in Montgomery. There were conflicting reports on the extent of injuries to the driver.

``This is a heartbreaking tragedy,″ said Gov. Bob Riley.

Huntsville police spokesman Wendell Johnson said 23 students were taken to two hospitals _ Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center.

``Huntsville has never seen an accident like this,″ Johnson said.

Ward said the bus went off the I-565 overpass and crashed about 30 feet below the roadway.

He said the bus was transporting Lee High School students who attend the Center for Technology in Huntsville, where students can receive special science and math credits. He said he assumed the bus was leaving the center when the wreck occurred.

There was no immediate word on what may have caused the bus to plunge off the interstate in downtown Huntsville, a north Alabama city that is home to Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal.

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