WAWAYANDA, NY – A tragic accident involving a charter bus carrying students to a band camp in Pennsylvania has resulted in two confirmed fatalities and at least five critical injuries. The bus, which was part of a six-bus convoy transporting 300 ninth graders from Farmingdale High School in Nassau County, New York, veered off the road and tumbled down an embankment.
The incident occurred around 1:30 pm, approximately ten miles from the nearest exit on a two-lane highway near the town of Wawayanda in Orange County. Most of the students on board sustained injuries. The vehicle ended up on its side in a heavily wooded area, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.
The Farmingdale School District confirmed the accident, stating that police and emergency responders were on the scene. The district asked for patience as they gathered more details. Steven M Neuhaus, the county executive of Orange County, reported that five people were hospitalized in critical condition and 46 were injured.
Multiple law enforcement, emergency responders, and fire agencies responded to the scene, which was described as an ‘active investigation.’ The injured were transported to Westchester County Medical Center or Garnet Health Medical Center in Wallkill, with two Medivac helicopters aiding in the rescue effort.
The bus was operated by the Regency Luxury Charter Bus Company from Smithtown, New York. It was about 100 miles into its journey to the annual four-day weekend camp when the accident occurred. Rescue workers were seen searching the thick undergrowth and wooded area next to the bus.
The aftermath of the accident left the community in shock, with many expressing their concern and grief. The college’s physical education center at SUNY Orange was used as a family information and reunification center. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman arranged a police escort for the families of the affected students.
The remaining buses in the convoy returned to Nassau County. The district arranged for students to meet with grief counselors. Once cleared, they returned to Farmingdale High School. New York State Police closed Route 84 westbound at Exit 15 for the ongoing investigation, but the eastbound lane has since reopened.