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Bus Crash Kills 3 Sailors, Injures Dozens

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2004 – At least three sailors were killed and dozens more were injured after a bus carrying Navy people to a wreath-laying ceremony collided with a tractor-trailer today about 20 miles north of Beaufort, S.C.

The sailors part of the precommissioning unit of the guided missile cruiser Pinckney -- were traveling from Charleston, S.C., to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Beaufort National Cemetery, according to a news release from the Navy's U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Two dozen sailors were treated at area hospitals, and 47 others suffered minor injuries, the release said. Names of the sailors killed in the accident are being withheld until their families are notified.

The ceremony at the Beaufort cemetery was to honor the ship's namesake, the release said. William Pinckney was an enlisted cook who earned the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart for his actions following a 1942 Japanese bombing attack on the USS Enterprise. He died in 1975, and is buried in the Beaufort cemetery.

Local law enforcement agencies are investigating the crash.

Families wishing to obtain information about their loved ones can call the Navy's Emergency Coordination Center toll free at (800) 303-8976.

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