(Courtesy: Michelle McClain / Facebook)
SOUTH FULTON, Ga. - Two people are remain hospitalized after a tragic accident in the city of south Fulton involving a church bus from Alabama.
A spokeswomen confirmed early Monday morning that three patients are receiving treatment at Grady Memorial Hospital, and all are in stable condition. One patient was released later in the day.
Sarah Harmening, 17, was killed and 39 others injured when their church bus overturned on Camp Creek Parkway last Thursday.
A funeral service for Harmening is set to take place Monday afternoon.
Church members of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama said some of the teenagers suffer broken bones, fractures and internal injuries. Most of the victim have been released from the hospital.
No charges have been filed against anyone, or the driver of the bus, who police said they have not interviewed yet; church members said the driver has serious injuries, and are praying for his speedy recovery.
Police released new information on Friday detailing their initial investigation into the cause of the crash. Authorities said the bus attempted to change lanes when it struck a Chrysler, which caused the bus driver to steer left and lose control.
The bus entered the uneven median and rolled over, according to police. The upside down bus slid into a Mercedes that was traveling in the westbound lanes, according to investigators.
The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. along Camp Creek Parkway in south Fulton County, just outside Atlanta. SKYFOX 5 flew over the scene around 4:30 p.m. to find the bus overturned with portions of it crushed.
Friday, news partner WAFF-TV interviewed Austin McBride, a church staff member who was on board the bus that carried members of a student ministry. According to the church, the students were headed to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to begin a mission trip to Botswana in Africa.
"It almost felt like we were going down the tip of a rollercoaster. I knew we were in the air. We were airborn. I couldn't tell which way we were flipping or not," McBride said.
Police said the father of Harmening was at the scene, and that the 37 other people on the bus sustained injuries, and were transported to area hospitals. The people in the Mercedes and Chrysler involved were transported as well.
Thursday, patients were treated at Grady Memorial Hospital, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, Atlanta Medical Center, Southern Regional Medical Center and 15 at Atlanta Medical Center South. Patients suffered mostly cuts, bruises, and sprains, according to officials.
Most of the patients, who range in age from late teens to early 20s, were reunited with their families as of late Thursday evening.
Traffic along Camp Creek Parkway was shut down in both directions for a couple of hours. One direction of travel was reopened around 6:30 p.m. The road was fully reopened to traffic just before 10:30 p.m.
Officials said three air ambulances were called to the scene to transport patients along with several ambulances from AMR Ambulance service and Grady EMS.
"PRAY! One of the buses with the student ministry mission had an accident on the way to the Atlanta airport. Several serious injuries. Please pray for those injured and parents as they travel to Atlanta."
An outpouring of prayers and support flooded the church's Facebook page from residents in the metro Atlanta area, some offering to help.
Church members said they have been flooded with inquiries on how community members can help those still in the hospital. People can contact Mount Zion Baptist Church at (256) 837-2665.
"Just said a prayer and I will get my loved ones to do the same for these kids and their families. If any of the families read this and need a hotel room for the night in Atlanta , please send me a direct message. It will be at a Marriott property," wrote one commenter.
Others offered prayers for the church group.
“Praying in Athens GA. Lord just wrap your arms around all those involved..those from the church bus and the car, also the parents, loved ones and church families. We pray for your peace and comfort... physical and emotional healing. We also pray for the emergency personnel and medical personnel. We pray for traveling mercies for families who are now on their way from Huntsville Alabama and Mt. Zion Baptist Church. In Jesus Name,” wrote one person.
Support from other church groups was also among those commenting.
“Praying for all involved. Our Youth Group from Coastal Community Church is Hiking the Appalachian Trail. We were in the traffic and heard of the accident. We will continually pray for your youth, and your church. God is always in control,” one comment read.
And church members responded with heartfelt thanks.
“Thank you, all of you, for your prayers around the nation. As a member of Mt. Zion, it is comforting to know that so many in the body of Christ are sharing in our heartbreak and uplifting those families who have been impacted by this. I would ask you to include in your prayers those who were in the car that was hit as the bus overturned. May the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be glorified through this tragedy,” wrote one church member.