DEVELOPING: – At least 12 people were killed and three injured in a head-on crash Wednesday between a church bus and pickup truck in southwest Texas, officials said.
Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed the death toll to the Associated Press, adding that the collision happened around 12:30 p.m. local time on U.S. 83 outside Garner State Park, located about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
Hein said he does not know if the lone occupant of the pickup truck is among the dead, or how many of the dead were among the 14 people aboard the church van.
Photographs and video from the scene showed heavy damage to the front drivers' sides of the small white bus and pickup truck, which are the portions of the vehicles where they appear to have collided.
The back of the bus was up on a guardrail and debris was scattered onto the grass below.
Rick Ballesteros of Uvalde, who came upon the scene of the accident, told KABB/WOAI-TV the church bus was carrying older passengers.
"It was a really gruesome scene," he said in a phone interview.
The First Baptist New Braunfels church located in New Braunfels, Texas, asked for those to "please be in prayer for all involved" in a statement on its Facebook page.
The pastor of the church, Brad McLean, told mySA.com the van was carrying seniors from the Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center who were on a choir retreat, where they sang and did bible study.
"We just want to be, obviously, thoughtful of the families," McLean told the news outlet. "We know one of our church vans was involved in the accident. We're just continuing to wait on information."
The Uvalde County Sheriff's Office said that Highway 83 North is closed South of Garner State Park, and will be closed for several hours.
The Uvalde County Fire Marshals told KABB/WOAI-TV DPS and EMS units, as well as Airlife, were on the scene.
A representative from Airlife said two people were transported to University Hospital.
"We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "We thank the first responders working on the scene in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, and ask that all Texans join us in offering their thoughts and prayers.”
Read more from FoxSanAntonio.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.