Tennessee Crash: Some Bodies Burned Beyond Recognition, Official says

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(CNN) — Investigators probably will have to use dental records to identify some of the eight people who were killed in a wreck involving a church bus and two other vehicles in eastern Tennessee, a Tennessee Highway Patrol official said Thursday.

Some of the bodies in Wednesday’s crash were burned beyond recognition, and that is hindering authorities’ ability to notify all of the victims’ families about the deaths, highway patrol Sgt. Bill Miller said.

“The crash is so horrific … it’s probably the worst I’ve seen in my career, and I’ve worked in several counties in my” 17-year career, Miller said.

The bus, owned by a North Carolina church, was carrying a group of seniors on their way back home from a religious conference when one of its tires malfunctioned, sending the bus across a median on Interstate 40 and crashing into an SUV and a tractor-trailer, authorities said.

Eight people were killed: Six on the eastbound bus; one of three occupants of the SUV, and the tractor-trailer driver, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.

Of the 14 other people who were hospitalized after the wreck, two were in critical condition Thursday morning, said Brad Phillips, the emergency management director in Tennessee’s Jefferson County.

Seven were in serious condition, and five were in stable condition, he said.

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