Six killed in two-bus crash in Baltimore
At least six people have died and 10 others were hurt after a school bus struck a car before colliding with another bus in Baltimore, Maryland.
The school bus was just a few blocks away from its first stop when it hit the car, then an entrance to a cemetery, before veering into an oncoming commuter bus.
No children were on board the school bus, whose driver was killed along with at least five people on the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) vehicle, Baltimore Police said.
Spokesman TJ Smith said: "It literally looks like a bomb exploded in the bus. It's catastrophic damage."
The only other occupant of the school bus, an assistant, was taken to a hospital, as were the car driver and eight people from the commuter bus. Their injuries ranged from minor to critical, he said.
The school bus slammed into the MTA bus, crumpling both drivers' areas, and then raked the side of the commuter bus, tearing off sheet metal. It finally came to a stop with its front end buried towards the back of the MTA bus.
Mr Smith noted a lack of skid marks at the crash scene on Frederick Avenue near Loudon Park Cemetery, leading to what he called a working theory that the school bus driver had suffered a medical emergency.
Firefighters were still working their way through the wreckage of the commuter bus in the two hours after the crash at 7am local time, Baltimore fire chief Niles Ford said.
"This was a significant, significant wreck, so there are still portions of the bus that our people have not been able to fully access," he added.
He said firefighters also had to enter the school bus from the rear and cut out the seats to reach the driver and aide.
Mr Smith characterised it as an accident investigation, not a crime-scene investigation, despite the presence of homicide detectives. Mr Smith said they were called because they are accustomed to conducting death investigations.
University of Maryland medical centre said the hospital had received one patient in critical condition, three others in a fair condition and one in a serious condition.
The patients' injuries included spinal and facial injuries.