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Bus-Train Collision Leaves Five Injured on Tennessee-Georgia BorderAired March 28, 2000 - 9:01 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We start this morning on a very serious matter. Developing story at this time, still unfolding where a school bus and a train have collided near the Georgia-Tennessee border. It happened in a remote area in the county of Polk, Tennessee, about 30 miles east of Chattanooga. Authorities say four young children and one adult are said to be in critical condition. They have been airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in nearby Chattanooga.
The bus was carrying students from Georgia's Murray County school system, but apparently crossed into Polk County to turn around. Some witnesses say the train pushed the bus 100 yards after that crash.
For more on the condition of those taken to the hospital, Sharon Cahill is with us by telephone right now. She's with the Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.
Sharon, if you can hear me, tell me about the number of people that have been taken to your center.
SHARON CAHILL, ERLANGER MEDICAL CENTER: Bill, we now have to two pediatric patients, both eight years old, both critical condition. We will be getting three additional patients. Our first understanding was they were two pediatrics and one adult, but they are all three pediatric patients. We do not have the condition of those three that we'll be getting. They are being airlifted by our life-force medical helicopter and should be arriving relatively soon.
HEMMER: All right. And of the two you have right now, can you give us an indication as to the injuries that they have suffered?
CAHILL: No, Bill, I don't have those details. I just have their condition as critical.
HEMMER: And how long before you see three more, Ms. Cahill?
CAHILL: Should be within 30 minutes or less.
HEMMER: OK, we understand this happened around 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. Is that the same time frame you're operating under?
CAHILL: Yes, it is.
HEMMER: Can you give us an idea -- if you yourself have been to the area, can you describe it to us, please?
CAHILL: I have not, Bill. It is out of town, away from Chattanooga, and I have not been to the area.
HEMMER: Are you the closest in terms of proximity, in terms of emergency care, in that area?
CAHILL: Atlanta, Knoxville, some of those hospitals are relatively close. We are using ET Lifestar out of Knoxville that's helping us transport some of our patients. But Murray Medical Center there in that county has gotten patients, as well.
HEMMER: OK, you mentioned, Ms. Cahill, you mentioned five. Do you expect more to come to your headquarters there, your medical center? And also, not to get into any speculation now, but do you know of others who may have been injured, taken to other areas, other centers for treatment?
CAHILL: Bill, I don't have those details, yet...
CAHILL: ... and I don't know for sure if we will get additional patients...
CAHILL: I just do not have that updated information right now.
HEMMER: Sharon Cahill, Erlanger Medical Center, in Chattanooga, thank you for your time.
We will be in touch throughout the morning as we get more details here. Thanks, again.
Now to Kyra with other news.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right.
For more information on breaking story, Randy Golson, a reporter for WTVC is on the scene.
Randy, what can you tell us right now? And describe to us what you're seeing.
RANDY GOLSON, WTVC-TV REPORTER: Well, right now, what we understand is that it's a Murray County, Georgia, elementary school bus that was struck by a train early this morning. The crash happened in Polk County, Tennessee, on Liberty Church Road, some time between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
The impact certainly was very severe. I'm told that the passenger compartment was actually separated from the frame of the bus. Half of the bus is now in Tennessee, the other half is in Georgia. There were several people on board, including the driver. I do understand that there may be possible fatalities, but law enforcement here on the scene hasn't actually confirmed that yet. We have doctors on the scene. Also, parents have come to the scene and gone. I understand about five people have been taken to the hospital.
Right now, they're keeping the media well away from the impact scene. But we are here to continue to cover this and bring you further details as they become available.
This is Randy Golson, reporting live. Back to you.
PHILLIPS: OK, Randy Golson, thank you for that information. And we will continue to follow this story as it breaks.
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