NTSB Opens Investigation into Fatal Church Van Crash in Florida
GAINESVILLE, FL. – The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has opened an investigation into a fatal church van crash that occurred in Gainesville, Florida, according to an online news story reported at dailycaller.com. The crash happened almost a month ago, but NTSB was not able to investigate due to the government shutdown.*
The crash occurred in January 3 on Interstate 75 in Gainesville. A car and a semi-truck crashed into each other on I-75 North, then both crashed through a guardrail and struck two southbound vehicles. One of the southbound vehicles was a van carrying members of a Marksville, Louisiana, church to Walt Disney World.
Seven people died in the crash, including five children who were on the church van. Eight other people were injured. The accident occurred during the partial shutdown of the federal government, which affected NTSB. Almost all of NTSB’s workers were furloughed during this time and could not open new investigations.
On January 30, NTSB announced that it was sending a team to investigate the January 3 crash in Florida. In a message posted to social media, the agency said: “NTSB is sending an eight-member team to conduct a safety investigation of the highway crash that killed seven and injured eight in Gainesville, FL, on January 3, 2019, during the partial government shutdown. Gov. shutdown prevented NTSB from sending investigators to Gainesville immediately following [the] crash.”
The social media message went on to say: “NTSB is coordinating with Florida [Highway] Patrol, which opened its investigation immediately following the crash. FHP’s excellent work will greatly assist NTSB’s safety investigation while they continue their police investigation.”
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