Victims in deadly bus fire identified

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Iowa authorities have identified the student and bus driver who died Tuesday after a school bus caught fire in western Iowa.

Donnie Hendricks, 74, and Megan Klindt, 16, were the only people on the bus when the fire erupted around 7 a.m.

Investigators say the bus caught fire after it backed out of a farm driveway and into a ditch across the road. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Deputies arrived on scene around 7:20 a.m. and were unable to get on the bus, which they reported was fully engulfed in flames. Carson and Oakland Iowa Fire Departments arrived and extinguished the fire.

This was the first stop of the bus route. Fire dispatchers contacted Riverside Schools who confirmed that it was one of their buses and that they were unable to contact the driver on their cell phone. LifeNet was initially on standby for the incident, but was canceled shortly after deputies arrived on scene.

The Riverside Community School District has about 700 students from the area. The district held classes Tuesday but also made counselors available.

The district has postponed basketball games scheduled for Tuesday evening.

A community prayer vigil will be held at the Fellowship Church, 18999 US Highway 59, Oakland, Iowa. The doors will open at 5:30 PM, and a Community Prayer will be offered at 6:30 PM.

"I just want to say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the tragic news that we heard this morning with the bus fire and the two loss of lives in Western Iowa. Our thoughts and prayers are to the families there were involved," said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.