Nine children are among 10 people who have been killed in a multi-vehicle crash in Alabama.
The pile-up happened on a road that had been soaked with rain because of a tropical depression.
Eight of the children who died were travelling in a van that was heading to a home for abused and neglected young people.
Candice Gulley, the ranch director, was the van’s only survivor. She is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
Two of the children killed in the van were Ms Gulley’s own children, aged four and 16.
They were returning to the ranch from a nearby beach, and the van caught fire after the crash.
Image: Michael Smith, chief executive of the ranch, said words could not explain what he had seen at the site. Pic: AP
Michael Smith, the ranch’s chief executive, visited the scene of the crash on Saturday and said: “This is the worst tragedy I’ve been a part of in my life.
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“Words cannot explain what I saw. We love these girls like they’re our own children.”
Cody Fox, 29, and his nine-month-old daughter, were in another vehicle and were also killed.
Mr Fox worked at his county’s emergency management agency and also ran a hot tub business with his father.
Colleague Aaron Sanders said: “He was a great guy and we’re really going to miss him. He just loved (his daughter) to death and that was his life.”
The crash happened on Saturday about 35 miles south of Montgomery on the Interstate 65, with authorities saying the vehicles most likely hydroplaned on the wet roads.
A number of people were also injured and photos showed at least four burned vehicles, including two large trucks.
Sheriff Danny Bond wrote on Facebook: “Butler County has had one of the most terrible traffic accidents. I believe it is the worst ever in our county.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it had sent 10 investigators to the area and the local school, which was attended by most of the ranch residents, will have counsellors available to students.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the ranch cover the cost of funerals, medical bills, and counselling for those affected.
Also, in Tuscaloosa, about 60 miles southwest of Birmingham, a 24-year-old man and three-year-old boy were killed on Saturday when a tree fell on their house.
Image: Claudette passed through Slidell in Louisiana on Saturday when it was categorised as a storm
Tropical Depression Claudette had been categorised as a storm when it arrived over the southeastern part of the US in the early hours of Saturday.
It was downgraded to a tropical depression a few hours later but still had enough power to prompt flood and storm warnings for parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Heavy rain also lashed Mississippi and Louisiana on Saturday.
Forecasters have said it will strengthen back to tropical storm status on Monday over eastern North Carolina before moving into the Atlantic Ocean.
Source : Sky News