Montana bus with 40 people aboard tips on its side

AP News
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Posted: Jun 18, 2011 12:08 AM
Montana bus with 40 people aboard tips on its side

A school bus carrying about 40 people returning from a church camp flipped on its side Friday on a rural highway in northern Montana, injuring several students, although none was seriously hurt, authorities said.

The bus was carrying students from a church study camp in Hungry Horse, Mont., to Harlem, Mont., when the accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. on Highway 2 near Devon, Highway Patrol Sgt. Joel Knutsen said.

The Toole County Sheriff's Department said the injured students were taken to several medical centers. Radio station KSEN-AM in Shelby reported clothing and luggage could be seen along one side of the bus, which blocked the highway.

The bus had just left Glacier Bible Camp in Hungry Horse, an Assemblies of God-owned site that hosts the annual Indian Youth Camp for children from Montana's Indian reservations.

Richard Stewart, the director of Indian Youth Camp, told the Great Falls Tribune the bus was transporting children from the Fort Belknap Reservation, and they were being supervised by the Harlem Assembly of God congregation.

"Our hearts are breaking," Stewart said. "We were just at camp with these kids. ... We're just really going to the Lord and saying, `God, help us.'"

Knutsen said the bus driver apparently overcorrected twice, causing it to flip over, after a wind gust pushed the bus to the edge of the highway.

Injured students were taken by ambulance and helicopter to several area medical facilities, including Marias Medical Center in Shelby, said center administrator Mark Cross.

About 12 people were being treated for various injuries at Marias Medical Center.

The students appeared to range in age from grade-school to high-school age, Cross said. Several adults also were being treated.

Devon is about 15 miles east of Shelby and 130 miles north of Helena.

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Those seeking information about relatives who may be at Marias Medical Center can call 406-434-3130, 406-434-3133 or 406-434-3134.