Originally posted at 10:10 p.m. April 10, 2014. Edited with new details.
Parents and classmates today are waiting to learn the identities of seven of the nine victims of a fiery head-on collision between a tour bus and a big rig on Interstate 5 in the Northern California community of Orland, west of Chico.
The bus was carrying students from at least two Los Angeles-area high schools, who were en route to a campus visit at Humboldt State University, in the Northern Californian city of Arcata.
Nine people have been confirmed killed in the collision, including the drivers of both vehicles. The crash was reported at 5:41 p.m. Thursday on the northbound side of the interstate near state Route 32, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The bus was carrying 48 people, including three chaperones and the driver. The remainder were students, according to KCAL9.
Students from Robert F. Kennedy High School in Koreatown, and Manual Arts Senior High School in South Los Angeles were among those on the bus, Tommy Chang of the Los Angeles Unified School District said.
Tracy Hoover of the CHP said 34 bus passengers had been hospitalized. Hoover said the injuries included burns, contusions, lumps and pain.
Chang said the principals of the involved schools had been informed of developments, and the district was trying to verify if any students had been killed.
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said officials did not know how many Los Angeles-area students were victims of the crash.
"We are providing support at the site," Deasy said Thursday. "We will be providing support at district schools tomorrow morning."
LAUSD's Ellen Morgan said the district would make a further statement at 6 a.m. today.
Hoover told an NBC4 reporter the FedEx big rig had two trailers attached.
Hoover said the collision sequence began with the big rig crossing into the northbound lanes for an unknown reason, side-swiping a white sedan and then colliding with the bus.
This was followed by an "immediate explosion," Hoover said.
NBC4 reported the bus was owned by Silverado Stages of San Luis Obispo.
A statement on the company's website said it was helping authorities gather information regarding the accident.
"Our top priority is making sure the injured are being cared for, " the statement said.
The NBC report said FedEx could not confirm if the big rig was owned by the company, or leased from a sub-contractor.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are en route to the site, the station reported.
A statement from Humboldt State University said the prospective students were en route to a spring preview day scheduled for Friday that was part of a two-day visit to the Arcata campus.
The students were participants in the university-funded Preview Plus program, which brings low-income and first-generation prospective students from the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas to the campus, according to Humboldt State.
Families of students who may have been affected were advised to contact university police at (707) 826-6327 for further information or guidance. The Red Cross has established a support site in Orland for victims of the crash at the Orland Veterans Memorial Hall.
--City News Service