[KHTS] – A West Ranch High School senior was involved in Thursday’s deadly school bus crash on Interstate 5 near Orland, William S. Hart Union High School District officials confirmed Friday.
Steven Clavijo, 18, was on the bus that crashed, but survived, said District Spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.
“We’re waiting to confirm that directly with his family,” she said.
The crash occurred around 5:40 p.m. Thursday. The charter bus collided with a FedEx big rig and white Nissan on Interstate 5 near Orland, Calif., CHP officials said.
CHP officials said among the dead are five students, three chaperones and two truck drivers. At least 34 passengers were injured.
The identities of the victims have not yet been released.
The FedEx truck was heading south when it crossed the center line and hit the northbound bus head-on, causing the bus to erupt into flames, CHP officials said.
The reason the FedEx crashed or how the Nissan was involved was not clear.
Nearly 50 people were on board, including the students, a few chaperones and the driver, CHP officials said.
The group of students from Los Angeles and Riverside school districts was heading to Humboldt University’s Spring Preview Day this weekend.
Jonathan Gutierrez, a Wilmington student from Banning High School described the crash as a big bang, and afterwards recalled seeing a ball of fire and so much smoke that it was hard to breathe.
“When I see the pictures now it’s unbelievable. I was in that and something could have happened to me and I am grateful I survived.” Gutierrez said.
The Hart District released a statement about the crash and Clavijo’s condition.
“USA Today has reported that Clavijo survived the crash, as he was interviewed for the story,” Pinsker said in the statement. “We are working on confirming his status directly. This trip was arranged by Humboldt State and not West Ranch High School or the Hart School District and included dozens of students from the Los Angeles area. We do not believe that any other students from Hart District schools were involved. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families and friends of all the students and adults who did not survive and were injured in this horrific accident.”
For the USA Today article, click here.
Samia Khan, Toni Guinyard and Reggie Kumar of NBC Los Angelescontributed to this report.