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NTSB Sends Investigative Team to Texas Accident Involving a Prison Bus and Train

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate today’s accident near Odessa, Texas, involving a prison bus and a moving train.

Senior Investigator Pete Kotowski is leading the team as investigator-in-charge. Public Affairs Officer Peter Knudson will also be on-scene to coordinate media-related activities. He can be reached at peter.knudson@ntsb.gov or by mobile phone at (202)557-1350.

Two corrections officers and eight inmates died in Wednesday morning's accident, a Texas Department of Corrections spokesman said in a statement.

Screengrab: Newspath

The Medical Center Hospital in Odessa told Sky News they had received five survivors of the accident - four patients were critical and one was in a serious condition.

Screengrab: Newspath

The vehicle, which had 12 prisoners and three officers on board, was transporting inmates from Abilene to El Paso at the time of the collision.

Officials said visibility was poor and the interstate highway was icy. 

Screengrab: Newspath

Sgt Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff's Department told AFP news agency: "For whatever reason, whether it was for icy conditions or whatever, it went down the embankment and into the path of an oncoming train." 

Images from the scene showed the crumpled wreckage of the bus lying on its side.

"It's as bad as you can imagine," Kavin Tinney, chief of a firefighter battalion, told the Odessa American newspaper.

"In 32 years it's as bad as anything I've seen."

The Union Pacific freight train had two employees on board who were uninjured.

The train came to a stop shortly after the collision. 

The Texas Department of Transportation said a stretch of interstate 20 was shut down following the crash, but had since reopened.

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