Chattanooga Fire Department assistant chief Tracy Arnold confirmed “multiple” children were killed in Monday’s bus crash on Talley Road.
Speaking to media outside Woodmore Elementary School just after 6 p.m.(E.T.), Arnold could not immediately confirm the names or ages of those who were killed. The bus carried 35 students.
At least 23 students were taken to hospitals after the bus ran into a utility pole and overturned.
While emergency responders filled several blocks of Talley Road, officials from all levels of local government rushed to the scene.
A few minutes after 5 p.m., police chief Fred Fletcher called the matter “every public safety professional’s worst nightmare.”
“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,” he said, with city and county officials at his side. “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.”
The rescue effort continued until after dark. Scenes from near the crash painted a grim picture.
Two bloodied students laid on stretchers in a front yard nearly an hour after the crash receiving attention from first responders.
Others who weren’t rushed to the hospital walked away clutching their parents’ hands, looking dazed with cuts on their faces.