A charter bus carrying the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League rolled over on I-74 as they were en route to Illinois for this weekend’s games against the Peoria Rivermen.
According to the Rivermen, there were 24 members of the organization on board, from players to coaches to staff, and all were brought to a local hospital for examination.
All 24 were transported to the hospital, an Illinois State Police spokesman said. Two had to be extricated from the vehicle and were transported immediately to the hospital, while the others followed later in another bus. Morton Fire Chief Joe Kelley said his firefighters had to cut out holes in the top of the bus to remove the two. The rest were able to get out on their own.
According to Andy Kravetz, three people are in serious condition with the rest dealing with minor injuries.
The Cottonmouths released a statement on Thursday afternoon:
The Columbus Cottonmouths Hockey Team confirm that there was a bus accident outside of Peoria, IL in Morton, IL. The bus was flipped on one side right off of an exit ramp. All players have been accounted for and have been transported to a local hospital to determine the extent of the injuries. We can confirm that there seem to be no life-threatening injuries to players, staff or personnel. The Columbus Cottonmouths are working diligently to ensure the safety of their players and staff and that all involved are being treated promptly.
The Cottonmouths were set to play the Peoria Rivermen on Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21 at 8:05PM EST. The Cottonmouths are waiting for reports to confirm the cause of the accident and cannot confirm if either game in Peoria, IL will still be played this weekend. Any information will be released as soon as it becomes available.
— Andy Kravetz (@andykravetz) January 19, 2017
The Georgia-based team are in their 13th year in the SPHL and 21st as a professional minor league hockey franchise.
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