This morning at approximately 6:30 a.m. a JPL vanpool carrying ten people went off the road and down an embankment in the Angeles National Forest. On board were six JPL employees, two contractors and two NASA employees.

JPL Security was notified shortly thereafter by CHP and the L.A. County’s Sheriff’s department. Since then we have heard the same reports that you have: that seven employees were injured and that there were three fatalities. We haven’t received confirmation of the fatalities. That information will be forthcoming from the law enforcement agencies on the scene.

We have been in contact with the Huntington Hospital, where five of the injured have been sent. The first reports we have is that they are all in reasonably good condition. One of the injured is reported to be at Holly Cross Hospital in Mission Hills.

As you can imagine, we are deeply concerned for our employees and their families. Our senior management is working to help in any way we can.

– We dispatched members of our JPL Security force to the scene.

– Our physician on lab is working closely with our Human Resources department to contact the families of the vanpool. We’ll be providing the families with all the information we have as quickly as we receive it.

– Our Employee Assistance Program is working to provide support for employees here at the lab. This will include walk-in support in our Occupational Health Services department.

We have already heard words of support from Washington, from members of Congress and the NASA Administrator. Our Director, Charles Elachi, is in Washington today. He has asked me, on behalf of the entire laboratory, to share his deep concern and support.

It is, a very sad day for all of us.

As the day goes on, we will have more information to share and will provide you with information as to when we will hold an update.

The statement above from JPL was read to reporters this morning by Blaine Baggett, executive manager of JPL’s Office of Communication and Education.