School bus crashes into ravine on I-44 near Lindbergh; many children injured

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A school bus hit a guardrail and went into a ravine east of the Lindbergh exit on westbound I-44 at around 8 a.m. Thursday. There were at least 7-8 ambulances called to the scene at the time of the crash. First responders called this a mass casualty accident, meaning many children were injured.

The bus was traveling from the city of St. Louis to Hanna Woods elementary in Manchester.  The Missouri Highway Patrol says that a white truck and a red car got into an accident ahead of the bus on westbound I-44.  The bus hit the median of the highway and then turned to crash into the guardrail. The bus then went off of the highway and into  the woods.

There were 13 children on board the bus at the time of the accident.  Many of the children have minor scrapes.  One of the children has moderate injuries. The Missouri Highway Patrol says one child was ejected through an emergency door when the vehicle went down the embankment. The bus driver was pinned in the bus at the time of the accident.

Kirkwood Chief Jim Silvernail says that twelve of the children were at the side of the highway when they arrived on the scene. Drivers on I-44 helped get the kids to the guardrail before first responders got to the accident.

Firefighters say many of the kids had cuts, scrapes and bruises. They say that one of the children had a moderate, but not life threatening injury. The bus driver was trapped on the bus when firefighters arrived on the scene.  The bus driver was rescued, and the children are off of the bus.

There are 15 children being treated at Children's Hospital. Their ages are between 8-13 years old.  A representative from St. Louis Children's Hospital says the are all in good condition. This includes the child ejected from the bus. The children are with their families at the hospital. They expect to discharge eight of the children Thursday morning.

Latosha Ross tells FOX 2 that she heard children screaming and saw many injured kids after the accident. She was one of the first people on the scene to help with the rescue effort.  One of the children came up to her and said he wanted to go to sleep.  The child did not know his ear was partially severed.

Firefighters and police are in the woods near the crash scene with chainsaws. The cleared brush around the bus to rescue people on the bus. The bus is still stuck in the woods.

The Director of Communications for the Parkway School District, Paul Tandy, says a team of people is personally contacting the parents of injured students.

The drivers of the white truck and the red car involved in the initial accident were not injured.  It is unclear if there were more children in these vehicles involved in this crash.  There are more children at the hospital than were on the bus.