49 years ago Wednesday, one of the worst school bus accidents in U.S. history occurred here in Eastern Kentucky.
A bus ran off old U.S. 23 near Prestonsburg and plunged into the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River killing 26 students and the bus driver. Broadcaster Ernest Sparkman covered the disaster and at the time compared it to the 1957 flood, which had only happened 13 months earlier.
"This is by far the most tragic situation that has ever taken place here in Eastern Kentucky. Of course, the flood that went through here did thousands of dollars in damage, but of course homes and property that was destroyed can all be replaced. Tonight there are families, kids, teenage boys, teenage girls lying at the bottom of this cold river and of course it's a scene that is actually so tragic, that it's hard to describe," Sparkman said the evening of the accident.
In 2001, Denny Trease did an award winning series on the bus accident. You can watch the two part series by clicking one of the two links above.