Nine people have died, including six University of the Southwest student athletes and their coach, after a university bus carrying the men’s and women’s golf teams was involved in a head-on crash with a pickup truck in West Texas on Tuesday night, authorities said.
The New Mexico university’s bus was carrying nine passengers, including the coach, when the fiery collision happened around 8:20 p.m. on a two-lane road in Andrews County.
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Initial reports indicated that at least seven passengers on the bus were killed, while two were in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital, the university said in a written statement Wednesday.
“The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today as we mourn the loss of members of our university family,” the school said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) later updated that six students and one faculty member were killed, along with both the driver and passenger of the Dodge pickup.
“It’s a very tragic scene,” Sgt. Steven Blanco of the TDPS told KWES-TV. “It’s very, very tragic.”
The students were traveling back to the campus in Hobbs, New Mexico, from a golf tournament at Midland College, about 315 miles west of Dallas, when the oncoming pickup truck drove into the opposite lane and struck the bus head-on for “unknown reasons,” police said.
“We are still learning the details about the accident but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn about the loss of our students’ lives and their coach,” University President Quint Thurman said in a statement.
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The University of the Southwest is a private, Christian college located in Hobbs, New Mexico, near the state’s border with Texas.
The university said that it was working to notify family members of those involved in the crash, and counseling and religious services would be available on campus.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.