Disasters · Kentucky

Prestonsburg bus disaster

February 28, 1958
Prestonsburg, Kentucky
A bus carrying 48 students strikes the back of another vehicle, slides down an embankment, and is submerged, killing 26 students and the bus driver

Though 22 students managed to escape from the bus as it was sinking into the river, the other 26 students and the driver were not as fortunate. The bus continued to be swept downstream until it was found by Navy divers 53 hours after the accident at which time it was pulled from the water.

Another high-fatality bus accident, also in Kentucky, happened in Carrollton on May 14, 1988. This crash involved a modified school bus used by a church which was carrying 67 passengers, most of whom were teenagers. An intoxicated driver going the wrong way down the street collided with the bus, puncturing the bus’s fuel tank which was ignited by sparks. Because the bus type was built with inadequate escape capabilities, similar to the school bus disaster in 1958, 27 were killed by the fire and/or smoke inhalation. Since the accident in 1988, the buses were given more rigorous codes to adhere to, making them easier to escape from should a catastrophic event occur.

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