BUTLER COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) – The National Transportation Safety Board said the agency is sending investigators to determine what caused a multiple-fatal crash in Butler County, Ala., on rain-soaked Interstate 65.
The wreck involving 15 vehicles claimed ten lives, including nine children Saturday. Several others were injured. Butler County coroner Wayne Garlock told the Associated Press the vehicles likely hydroplaned, leading to a chain reaction of tragic events.
The crash happened about 35 miles southwest of Montgomery.
Eight of the nine children that died were traveling in association with the Alabama Sheriff’s Youth Ranches. Facebook posts Saturday and Sunday indicated the children belonged to the Tallapoosa County’s Girls Ranch with ages ranging from three to 17 years old. A nine-month-old and an adult from Marion County, Tenn., died in a separate vehicle.
“Investigating fatal crashes is one of the most difficult responsibilities of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,” ALEA’s Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor said. “Yesterday, was an extremely heartbreaking day for the state of Alabama as 10 lives were tragically lost in one horrific event. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the friends and families of loved ones lost in Saturday’s terrible crash, as well as my gratitude to all of the first responders and volunteers who quickly and valiantly responded to the scene. It was a difficult and unimaginable scene for many, and our thoughts and prayers are with all involved as we continue to investigate and provide closure for those affected.”
A team of ten investigators will arrive in Butler County, Ala. Sunday evening, according to a Twitter post from the NTSB. The safety investigation “vehicle technologies such as forward collision warning systems, CMV fuel tank integrity, motor carrier operations and occupant survivability,” the post said.
The investigators will work in coordination with the Alabama Highway Patrol.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.