5 dead, 13 hurt in I-35 accident in Kansas

A truck with Minnesota license plates was pulling a trailer when it hit a guard rail and went down a ravine about 9 a.m. Sunday, April 1, 2012, on Interstate 35, three miles south of Williamsburg, Kan. KCTV

Last Updated April 2 at 7:00 a.m. ET

(CBS/AP) OSAGE COUNTY, Kan. - Five people have died and three others have potentially life-threatening injuries after an accident on a Kansas interstate.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said a truck pulling a large trailer with 18 people on board hit a guard rail, then a concrete bridge, before plunging 30 feet down a ravine about 9 a.m. Sunday on I-35 near the town of Williamsburg, which is located about 70 miles southwest of Kansas City, Mo. Debris was strewn around the crumpled Freightliner box truck, which had living quarters inside.

Trooper Don Hughes said the fatality victims included adults and children. The crash is under investigation. Hughes said he couldn't immediately release the names, ages or hometowns of the victims because their relatives were still being notified. Hughes said the vehicle was not registered in Kansas but would not confirm where its license plates had been issued.

The survivors were sent to several surrounding hospitals. One of the hospitals, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, received two adults and an 8-year-old boy who were in critical condition, said spokeswoman Chris Hamele. The adults remained critical Sunday night, and the boy was transferred to a children's hospital, which declined to release any information about him or a 3-year-old who was transferred there.

Hospitals in Topeka, Olathe and Ottawa reported discharging five of the victims, while another victim being treated at a Kansas City, Kan., hospital was listed as fair. The conditions of the other victims weren't immediately known.

"Every once in a while you will get a large number of fatalities in one accident," Hughes said. "We are lucky they don't happen very often."

The crash stalled traffic for several hours on the interstate while crews worked the accident.

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