- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

11:23 a.m.

ABERDEEN, Md. (AP) — Four children who were injured seriously when their school bus crashed on Interstate 95 were doing better today, a hospital official said. One had been released.

The children were among nearly 60 people who were injured yesterday when a bus carrying children from a field trip to the National Aquarium crashed on Interstate 95 in northeastern Maryland.

Three chaperones aboard the bus did not require medical treatment. An 8-year-old girl’s hand was severed in the crash, officials said.

“She was pinned, and rescuers had to break one of the windows to free her,” Rich Gardiner, a spokesman for Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS, said late yesterday. “When [rescuers] pulled her free, her hand had been amputated.”

The four seriously injured patients, ages 8, 9 and 10, were flown to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. Their conditions improved overnight, hospital spokesman David March said.

Three of the children were listed in good or fair condition today, Mr. March said. One child was released.

The bus was one of six returning to Norris Square Day Camp in Philadelphia from the aquarium, said Sgt. David Jones of the Maryland State Police.

State police said the bus and another vehicle, the cab portion of a tractor-trailer, sideswiped each other.

The bus swerved into the median and back across both lanes of northbound I-95, turning over on its left side and coming to rest on the shoulder.

Mr. Gardiner said 53 persons with minor injuries were taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, Union Hospital in Elkton, Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore and Christina Hospital in Newark, Del.

All northbound lanes of I-95 in the Aberdeen area were closed following the 5 p.m. accident. The southbound lanes were closed for two hours and 40 minutes. The northbound lanes reopened five hours after the accident.

The bus lay on one side in the breakdown lane, and long skid marks could be seen from the median across several lanes of the highway.

Fire trucks blocked the highway, and rescuers swarmed around patients, placing some on backboards and stretchers. Emergency helicopters landed on the highway to pick up patients.

With traffic at a standstill, drivers stuck behind the congestion got out of their vehicles and walked along the highway.

Traffic was backed up as much as six miles in the southbound lanes, a spokesman at the Maryland Department of Transportation said. The northbound backup was shorter because traffic was diverted at two detours.

The other five buses drove to the nearby Maryland House rest stop along the interstate to wait for the road to reopen.

Officials for the day camp could not be reached immediately for comment.

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