NTSB begins investigating deadly Orange County bus crash

The NTSB will likely be in the county for a week-long trip, with the goal of figuring out what happened so they can try to minimize the chances of it ever happening again.

Veronica Jean Seltzer

Sep 22, 2023, 9:30 AM

Updated 267 days ago


NTSB investigators arrived in Orange County to examine the bus that flipped on I-84 Thursday afternoon, killing two people.
The NTSB will likely be in the county for a week-long trip, with the goal of figuring out what happened so they can try to minimize the chances of it ever happening again.
"I wanted to walk around it. Get an idea what happened," John Humm, PhD. said.
It's the first that the investigator in charge has seen of the crash that terrorized so many and left two dead.
"Our goal is to find out what happened. Why it happened and to make safety recommendations to reduce the chance this sort of accident ever happens again," Humm said.
He explained his team does that by interviewing those involved and analyzing the bus mechanics.
Further coverage on NTSB's investigation
"Generally, in a lot of accidents, there's more than one cause so there might be several factors," he said. So far, he knows what News 12 has reported - that state police have said a left front tire could be partially to blame for the flip and fall down a 50-foot ravine on I-84 in Wawayanda.
The bus was carrying about 40 kids and four adults from Farmingdale High School on Long Island to band camp in Pennsylvania.
"Our condolences to the families and victims of this terrible tragedy and also just acknowledge the tremendous loss to the community," Humm said.
He added investigators will speak to the driver, but they don't know her condition right now.
Investigators will also look into whether seat belts were available and used.
The deceased have been identified as 43-year-old Gina Pellettierre, the Farmingdale band director, and 77-year-old Farmingdale resident Beatrice Ferrari. Ferrari was also dedicated teacher at the Farmingdale High School for over 26 years. The accident transpired around 1:20 p.m., as the bus veered off the road and plunged down a 50-foot ravine.
Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed her condolences and acknowledged the resilience of the high school students, many of whom are freshmen, who faced the chaos and fear during the incident.
The charter bus was one of six en route to Greeley, Pennsylvania for a band camp scheduled for the weekend. Preliminary reports suggest that a front tire malfunction may have contributed to the accident.
According to the NTSB, investigations of this nature typically span a year or two, though the timeline may vary.
MORE: Daytime video shows damage to bus that crashed in Orange County


New details are emerging about the bus company at the center of Thursday’s fatal crash involving band students from Farmingdale High School.
MORE: Officials hold news conference on the Orange County bus crash
MORE: News 12's Blaise Gomez was live at the scene
News 12's Kevin Vesey was live at Westchester Medical Center, a level one trauma center, where three patients from the crash are being cared for.
News 12's Jonathan Gordon was live at Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, where some of the other students were taken
News 12's Diane Caruso was live at the reunification center that was set up for the parents of students who were uninjured in the crash.
News 12 Investigative Reporter Rachel Yonkunas took a look at the record of Regency Transportation, the bus company whose vehicle, was involved in the rollover.
The band was heading to Pine Forest Camp, in Greeley, Pennsylvania. In a statement released Friday, the camp said, “Our hearts go out to the families affected by this terrible accident and we express our heartfelt thanks to those first responders who aided in the rescue. Many organizations rent our camp facilities throughout the year. Farmingdale High School Band has been a wonderful and welcomed group that has rented our camp for many years.”

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