WELLSVILLE, Kan. | A school bus returning to Independence from a church camp in Franklin County crashed today on Interstate 35, injuring nine children, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.
One child was airlifted in critical condition. The injured were taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Trooper Neil Stanley said there were 34 on the bus: 29 children, ages 8 to 15; four older teen camp counselors; and the adult driver.
“The bus somehow left the roadway going into the median, and when the driver corrected, the bus flipped onto its driver’s side,” Stanley said.
The rear end of the bus was partially on the highway, with the rest of the bus on the shoulder, he said. No other vehicles were involved.
The crash inquiry will include an investigation of the mechanical condition of the bus, Stanley said.
“It’ll probably be a week or two before we know exactly what happened,” he said.
Passersby stopped to help children off the bus as emergency personnel arrived. The children chiefly complained of neck, back and hip pain and suffered cuts and bruises, Stanley said.
An official at Tri-City Ministries in Independence said the children were part of an outreach ministry and came from around the Kansas City area to attend Amazing Grace Baptist Camp in rural Franklin County.
He said some children had broken bones, but he did not think any of the injuries were life-threatening.
The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. The highway was reopened just after noon.