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New York State Police said there are also five people in critical condition after the bus crash on Interstate 84
The private coach bus was carrying 44 passengers, including 40 freshmen Farmingdale High School students, who were en route to a music event for band camp at Pine Forest Camp in Greeley, Pennsylvania.
In the press conference, Hochul said the bus crashed on Interstate 84 in Wawayanda in Orange County, New York, around 1:12 p.m. local time. The bus involved in the rollover crash was one of six buses transporting the band members to Pennsylvania.
The crash occurred about 30 miles away from the bus' destination and 45 miles northwest of New York City, per The Associated Press. The students' band camp trip is an annual tradition for Farmingdale High School. Each year around 300 students, including the marching band, color guard, and kick line team, attend the September back-to-school ritual.
Hochul shared that while authorities are continuing to investigate, they determined on a "preliminary" basis that the cause of the accident was due to a “faulty front tire.”
The governor and New York State Police Assistant Deputy Superintendent Lt. Colonel Richard L. Mazzone announced that the two fatalities were two adult women, and there are five students who are in critical condition.
Mazzone reported that the two fatalities were two of the four adults on the bus - Gina Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, New York, and Beatrice Ferarri, 77, of Farmingdale.
“I do want to acknowledge some incredible people who put on their uniforms every day when they're in our time of need and my God this was a time of need," Hochul added, before thanking state and local officials.
“There are a lot of families that need some love tonight. I will extend that from 20 million New Yorkers," Hochul said. "Who all know how much we cherish our children, our adults, our bandleaders — and life would be a little bit emptier without them. So let's keep them in our prayers this evening as they recover from this horrific traumatic experience.”
Jonathan Eugenio, whose son, trombone player Anthony Eugenio, was on the bus, told The Associated Press that his son suffered some injuries. "[Anthony] said he is really sore. He’s got a big bump on his leg. He’s got blood on his pants from somebody else," Eugenio said. "The person next to him was covered in blood."
“When you get news like that and your son is two and half hours away — it’s pretty scary," Eugenio told The Associated Press.
After the bus tumbled into the 50-foot ravine, Anthony, 15, lost his phone. However, the high school student was able to contact his father after his fellow classmate lent him their device.
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Those who were critically injured were brought to six Orange County hospitals, Mazzone said during Thursday's press conference.
“A reunification center has been established at Orange County Community College in the Diana Physical Education Building on East Conklin Avenue in Middletown, [N.Y.],” Mazzone explained.
The students on the five other buses returned to Farmingdale, but the district said they stopped to meet grief counselors on the way, reports ABC News. Additionally, all after-school activities at Farmingdale High School were canceled Thursday following the crash, NBC New York reports.
I-84 will be closed for several more hours while the collision site is under investigation, Mazzone said. “Our collision reconstruction unit and commercial vehicle enforcement unit are on the scene," he explained.
Mazzone later asked those who have any information to contact the State Police at 845-344-5300.
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