At least 8 people dead as bus carrying farmworkers crashes in Florida

Bus was carrying 53 farmworkers when it collided with a pick-up truck in central Florida, authorities say.

Emergency crews on the scene of a bus crash in the US state of Florida
Emergency services at the scene after a bus carrying farmworkers overturned in a fatal crash in central Florida, US, May 14 [Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner/USA Today Network via Reuters]

At least eight people have been killed after a bus carrying farmworkers in the US state of Florida collided with a pick-up truck, authorities said.

The bus was transporting 53 farmworkers when it collided with the truck in Marion County, north of Orlando, on Tuesday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

About 40 passengers were transported to hospitals for minor injuries, said James Lucas, the public information officer for Marion County Fire Rescue.

The workers were headed to pick melons at Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, a small farming community in Marion County.

Authorities say the bus swerved off a road, crashed through a fence and ended up on its side in a field.

“We will be closed today out of respect to the losses and injuries endured early this morning in the accident that took place to the Olvera Trucking Harvesting Corp,” Cannon Farms announced on its Facebook page.

Cannon Farms describes itself as a family-owned commercial farming operation that has farmed its land for more than 100 years, focusing now on peanuts and watermelons, which it sends to grocery stores across the United States and Canada.

“Please pray with us for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident. We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time,” it said.

The victims’ identities were not yet made public as information about the crash continued to trickle in on Tuesday morning.

Images aired by local TV news stations showed a white bus laying on its side in a grassy field next to the highway. Police and other emergency responders were on the scene.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said West Highway 40, where the crash took place, would be closed for most of the day.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies