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27 Drown in Florida Bus Disaster

May 18, 1963 - At least 27 men, women, and children drowned today when a bus carrying migrant farm workers plunged into a canal 80 miles north of Miami. Fifteen persons struggled to safety. Officials said the death toll could not be finalized until the canal bed was thoroughly searched. The dead, most of whom were Negro bean pickers, ranged in age from 6 to 65 years. Negro children often accompany their parents to the fields. Belle Glade Police Lieutenant L.C. Lowery said the bus swerved into the canal after a glancing collision with a light truck that passed it in the same direction. The workers had just finished their day’s work at one of the market produce farms that spread over the lush vegetable belt on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. The canal, one of many that drain the rich, marshy land around the lake, is about 15 feet wide and more than 20 feet deep.


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