Update: 5 Students In Critical Condition After Bus Goes Down Embankment In Orange County

As school bells rang and a new day started for students at a Long Island high school where five of their fellow classmates remain in critical condition following a horrific bus crash that killed two adults, state, and federal officials are investigating the incident.

The crash site.

The crash site.

Photo Credit: Eastern Dutchess County Fire and Rescue/Orange and Rockland County Fire

The Orange County crash happened at around 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, on I-84 in the town of Wawayanda, near Exit 15A.

The charter bus carrying marching band members from Farmingdale High School in Nassau County was heading to Greeley, Pennsylvania for band camp when one of the six buses carrying students went through the wire barrier and slid down a 50-foot embankment due to a flat tire, according to the New York State Police.

At least 43 people were injured, mostly students, and two adults were killed including the band director, state police said.

Early Friday, Sept. 22, the National Safety and Transportation Bard will be on the scene of the crash to inspect the damage to the bus and make a determination on the reason for the crash.

In addition, the state's Department of Transportation said in a statement the vehicle operator, Regency Transportation of Nesconset, has valid operating authority and a valid semi-annual inspection. The driver was properly licensed, the agency said in a statement.

Families and students held a vigil on Thursday evening as buses carrying surviving students arrived back in Farmingdale.

Many held candles, but most just wanted to be together and show support for those who underwent the trauma of the crash.

They also told stories and paid tribute to the two who died including Farmingdale High School band director Gina Pellettiere, age 43, of Massapequa, and Beatrice Ferrari, a 77-year-old Farmingdale resident who taught social studies at the school for over 26 years.

Worried parents rushed to Orange County to pick up their children at a reunification center in Middletown.

Three students in critical condition were airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Others were sent to Orange County hospitals including Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis; St. Luke’s Hospital in Cornwall; St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, and Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown.

Farmingdale School District Superintendent Paul Defendini said in a letter to school families on Thursday that counselors and support staff will be available Friday for all students, faculty, and staff.

On the Farmingdale PTA Facebook page, well-wishers filled the site.

Member Elizabeth Lockheart said: "Today is going to be really hard but I would like to thank all the teachers and staff that got our kids home last night. Also, those that are taking care of all our students today. As well as praying for the ones that were not able to get home."

Jen Jen wrote: "Farmingdale is one big family. We always stand together." 

This continues to be a breaking story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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