17 injured, one critically, when camp van full of teens skids off NC road into ditch

Seventeen people were hospitalized late Thursday — with one in critical condition — after a camp van full of youths crashed near North Carolina’s border with central Virginia, according to the town of Gaston Fire-Rescue-EMS in Northampton County.

Most of the passengers were teens from Brooklyn, New York, who were returning from a jet skiing trip and retreat at a nearby lake, reported WAVY.

One of the passengers was trapped between seats and had to be pried out, rescuers said in a Facebook post.

The crash happened about 6:43 p.m. Thursday near Henrico, an unincorporated community about 100 miles northeast of Raleigh, Gaston officials said.

Photos show the van came to rest over a ditch filled with about a foot of water, with personal items belonging to passengers scattered across the roadway and median.

“Of the patients, 11 were non-urgent, five were urgent, and one was critical. Of the five urgent patients, one was found trapped inside of the multi-passenger van,” Gaston Fire-Rescue-EMS officials said on Facebook.

“Two rows of rear seats were removed by firefighters using hydraulic rescue cutters and reciprocating saws.”

The Orthodox Jewish news site Yeshiva World reports the passengers were Bochrim -- young, unmarried male students -- who have been staying at Camp Chaburas Bein Hazmanim/Machaneh in Richmond, Virginia.

An 18-year-old named Eliyahu Avraham Ben Keren was identified by the news site as the passenger in critical condition.

A 21-year-old was driving and the accident happened when the van “took a curve too fast, over-corrected (and) ran off the road,” reported WAVY.com.

The Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department reported on Facebook that many of the patients were “lying on the ground” as the department arrived. The department said eight first responder teams from the region helped free and transport the injured passengers to hospitals.

“This incident was a great example of numerous agencies from all fields coming together to get the job done,” said a post on the Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page. “It was a very chaotic scene and we couldn’t have gotten it done so smoothly without the teamwork.”

The N.C. Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, Gaston rescue officials said.

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