Students from a Massachusetts school arrived home as investigators tried to find the cause of a tour bus crash that killed four of their classmates en route to a concert and band competition in Canada.
The bus carrying 42 students, aged 10-13, skidded off a highway exit in New Brunswick, Canada, flipped several times and came to rest on its side, police said. Most of the children were sleeping at the time.
Dozens of passengers were hurt. Most were treated at a hospital for bumps and bruises and released. Parents of the children flew to Canada Friday, along with, assistant principal of Oak Hill Middle School in Newton, Massachusetts.
"I know that the parents are very glad to see their children, and the children were very glad to see their parents," Van Putten said. "For some of them, they were back to normal almost immediately, playing with wheelchairs up and down the hallways. For others, it might take a bit longer."
The children were on their way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to participate in a band concert and competition. They were accompanied by five adult chaperones and two bus drivers.
Two of three planes bringing the children and relatives back to Massachusetts landed Friday evening. The rest of the children, as well as the bodies of the four victims, arrived early Saturday morning.
The students killed were identified as Melissa Leung, 14; Greg Chan, 13; Kayla Rosenberg, 13; and Stephen Glidden, 12. Melissa's mother was a chaperone on the trip, Newton Mayor David Cohen said.
The bus lost control and overturned on a ramp of the Trans-Canada Highway. The cause had yet to be determined, but police said the bus appeared to have been on the wrong exit. It was en route to Halifax, but instead exited toward Fredericton, New Brunswick. Weather conditions did not appear to be a factor in the accident.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Brown said the bus flipped several times as it went down a hill and landed on its side. Some of the bus windows were blown out, the cargo compartments were thrown open and luggage and musical instruments were strewn around the area.
Emergency officials at the scene lined up along the side of the bus with large tarps, trying to keep the dead and injured out of view.
Marvin Shapiro, the principal of Oak Hill, said the students were going to participate in a joint concert Friday night with Gaetz Brook Junior High School outside Halifax.
Shapiro said the middle school band from the Gaetz Brook school in Canada came to Newton to perform last year. As part of an exchange program, the Newton students were heading to the Gaetz Brook school to participate in a competition there.
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