A school bus returning to Independence, Mo., from a church camp in Franklin County, Kan., crashed Saturday morning on I-35, injuring nine children.
One girl, thought to be critically injured, was airlifted to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., with a fractured vertebra. Eric Hatfield said later Saturday that his daughter Kara was expected to make a full recovery.
"It's a big relief, praise the Lord," Hatfield said.
One child had a fractured hip and another a broken arm, said Pastor Carl Herbster of Tri-City Ministries, which owned the bus and sponsored the trip to the camp.
Never miss a local story.
The other injured children had cuts and bruises, he said. None of the injuries was life-threatening, he said.
No other vehicles were involved, said Trooper Neil Stanley of the Kansas Highway Patrol. The accident occurred at about 10:30 a.m., and the highway was reopened just after noon.
"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 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," Stanley said.
Herbster said the driver told him that the bus suddenly veered into the median. The steering did not respond to attempts to keep it on the road, Herbster said.
The bus was well-maintained, he said. The driver was an adult church employee.
This was the first accident the church has had in 27 years of taking children to camps, Herbster said.
Stanley of the Highway Patrol said 34 people were on the bus. Four were older teenage camp counselors, 29 were children, and one was the driver. Herbster put the number on the bus at 30, with 25 children in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Passersby stopped to help children off the bus as emergency personnel arrived. Most of the injured were taken to Children's Mercy Hospital and one was taken to an Ottawa hospital, Herbster said.
All but two of the injured, Kara Hatfield and the child with a hip fracture, were released from the hospital by Saturday evening, Herbster said.
He said the children and counselors had completed a week at Amazing Grace Baptist Camp near Ottawa.