MERIDIAN, La. – A bus carrying a church youth group from Louisiana to Georgia flipped Sunday on Interstate 20 in Mississippi, killing one person and injuring 23 others, a coroner said.
The bus, from First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., rolled three times around 10:20 a.m. near Meridian and trapped at least two people underneath, Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler III said.
"It had a blowout," Cobler said.
At least two passengers were trapped underneath the bus. A group of National Guard soldiers was on the highway at the time and helped extricate the injured.
"The National Guardsmen actually picked the bus up off the two people and got them out," Cobler said.
An 18-year-old male was pronounced dead at a hospital, Cobler said. His name was not released.
Three people were airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, including one with severe head injuries, while the others were being treated at three hospitals in Meridian, the coroner said.
Cobler said injuries ranged from severe pelvic, back, and chest injuries to scrapes and scratches.
An official at Regency Hospital of Meridian said six people were taken there and another official at Rush Foundation Hospital said 13 people were being treated there, but neither would release the conditions of the crash victims.
Church officials told The Shreveport Times newspaper that the bus was headed to a weeklong youth event near Atlanta called "Passport."
Phone messages left with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Birmingham, Ala.-based Passport Inc. were not immediately returned.
The congregation learned of the accident shortly before Sunday morning worship and used the occasion to rally together in prayer.
"Our congregation is leaning on our faith and confidence in God," First Baptist senior pastor Greg Hunt said.