Six girls, including a 1-year-old baby, were killed in a car crash on a Tennessee highway in the early hours of Sunday, officials said.
First responders arrived to find a vehicle upside down with extensive damage when they responded to the incident in Robertson County, about 30 miles north of Nashville, just before 2 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET) on Sunday, the Robertson County Emergency Medical Services department said in a news release.
Six girls, who were between the ages of 1 and 18, were believed to have died after they were ejected from the vehicle, the department said. The exact ages of the victims were not immediately clear.
Two adults were also injured, including a woman who was critically hurt after appearing to have also been thrown from the vehicle, the department said. The woman was transported by air ambulance to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. A man who said he had been in the vehicle also suffered minor injuries and was taken to the TriStar Skyline Trauma Center in Nashville.
The victims were not immediately identified and it was not clear if they were related.
A second vehicle was also found near the damaged car. The driver in that vehicle did not appear to be injured, the emergency medical services department said.
A total of four Advanced Life Support ambulances responded to the scene, along with one air ambulance, it said.
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear as of early Monday morning.
The crash is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the department said.
Noting the “incredible difficulty of this scene,” it said interdepartmental Critical Incident Stress Management teams had been deployed to assist those who responded to the crash, with further counseling services to be provided.
“These are things sometimes I don’t believe people are necessarily meant to see as human beings,” Robertson County Emergency Medical Services Director/Chief Brent Dyer said, according to NBC affiliate WSMV, which is based in Nashville.
Dyer said he was heartbroken that children had died in the crash. “It’s one of the hardest things we’ll ever do, as anybody in emergency services, is to realize that you can’t do something for a child,” he said.
It is still unclear whether the victims in the crash were wearing seat belts or were properly restrained, but Dyer implored drivers to ensure children are safely secured in vehicles.
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