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Driver of pickup that collided with farmworker bus in Florida, killing 8, is arrested on DUI charges

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Driver of pickup that collided with farmworker bus in Florida, killing 8, is arrested on DUI charges
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Driver of pickup that collided with farmworker bus in Florida, killing 8, is arrested on DUI charges

2024-05-22 03:49 Last Updated At:03:50

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a farmworker bus early Tuesday, killing eight, on charges of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

Bryan Maclean Howard, 41, faces eight counts of DUI-Manslaughter, the FHP said in a statement. No further details were released, including what substance allegedly left Howard impaired.

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Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a farmworker bus early Tuesday, killing eight, on charges of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Wreckage is cleared after a bus collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Wreckage is cleared after a bus collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

A bus is removed after it collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

A bus is removed after it collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the crash scene as emergency workers are on the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the crash scene as emergency workers are on the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the pick up truck that was involved in the crash scene as emergency workers worked the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the pick up truck that was involved in the crash scene as emergency workers worked the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Emergency workers work the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Emergency workers work the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows a bus carrying 53 farmworkers that crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. which is north of Orlando. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows a bus carrying 53 farmworkers that crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. which is north of Orlando. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Troopers said he was driving the 2001 Ford Ranger when it crossed into the center line on State Road 40, a straight but somewhat hilly two-lane road that passes through horse farms. The truck sideswiped the bus, causing it to veer off the road at about 6:40 a.m. It crashed through a fence and into a tree before overturning. In addition to the eight killed, at least 40 were injured.

It was not immediately known if Howard has an attorney, and no phone numbers for family members could be found. According to state records, Howard has previous arrests for driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and marijuana possession.

The accident happened in Marion County, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Orlando. The workers had been headed to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, which has been harvesting watermelons. The bus ended up on its side, with its windows smashed and its emergency rear door and top hatch open. The truck came to a stop at the side of the road, with its air bag blown and extensive damage to the driver's side.

Federal statistics show that vehicle crashes were the leading cause of job-related deaths among farmworkers in 2022, the latest year available. They accounted for 81 of 171 fatalities. It was not immediately not known if the bus had seat belts.

Authorities in several states have been pushing for greater regulations for the safety of farmworkers, who are overwhelmingly migrants. It is unknown if all the workers on the bus were migrants. The Mexican consulate in Orlando said it was making help available to any of the workers who are from its country.

The Labor Department announced new seat belt requirements for employer vehicles used for farmworkers on temporary visas, among other worker protections that take effect June 28. The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association called the seat belt requirement “impractical.”

State law requires seat belts for farmworker transport using smaller vehicles, weighing less than 10,000 pounds.

“We will be closed today out of respect to the losses and injuries endured early this morning in the accident that took place to the Olvera Trucking Harvesting Corp.,” Cannon Farms announced on its Facebook page. “Please pray with us for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident. We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time.”

Cannon Farms describes itself as a family-owned operation that has farmed its land for more than 100 years. The company now focuses on peanuts and watermelons, which it sends to grocery stores across the U.S. and Canada. It is about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the crash site.

No one answered the phone at Olvera Trucking on Tuesday afternoon. The company recently advertised for a temporary driver who would bus workers to watermelon fields and then operate harvesting equipment. The pay was $14.77 an hour.

A Labor Department document shows Olvera recently applied for 43 H-2A workers to harvest watermelons at Cannon Farms this month. The company again offered a base rate of $14.77 an hour, with promises of housing and transportation to and from the fields.

The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or agents who meet certain regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill temporary agricultural jobs. Florida farms employ more H-2A workers than any other state, about 50,000 a year, according to the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

Guatemala’s government initially said some of its citizens were involved in the crash but retracted that Tuesday night, saying a report on an accident from the consulate in Chicago had been confused with the Florida crash. Goldin López de Bonilla, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said the Central American nation was still waiting to hear whether any of its citizens were involved in the Florida crash.

Alicia Bárcena, Mexico's foreign relations secretary, said via the social media platform X, “I am sorry to report that a tragic automotive accident happened in Florida with Mexican agricultural workers involved.”

The Mexican Consulate in Orlando was on the scene, she said, to provide support.

Andres Sequera, a director of mission and ministry for AdventHealth hospitals, told reporters that the injured workers who could be visited by chaplains “were in good spirits for what they have been through.”

“We were able to provide support, presence, prayer when it was asked of us,” he said.

A GoFundMe campaign organized by the Farmworker Association of Florida to support accident victims and their families had raised about $5,000 of a $50,000 goal by Tuesday evening.

“Farmworkers tend to be forgotten, but it’s important not to forget farmworkers, especially during such difficult times,” the post said.

Two groups that advocate for farmworkers issued statements calling for stricter laws to protect them from harm.

“It is too easy to dismiss this as just another accident,” said Asia Clermont, Florida director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. “Florida must take every possible step to protect its essential workers, who are human beings and the backbone of the state’s economy.”

Ty Joplin of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers said transportation laws for farmworkers are often unenforced.

“While accidents will happen, protecting workers while transporting them with mandatory and enforceable safety provisions, like seat belts and safety inspections, can reduce injuries and deaths,” he said.

Spencer reported from Fort Lauderdale. Associated Press writer Sonia Pérez D. in Guatemala City contributed.

This story has been updated to make clear the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association stance on a Department of Labor seatbelt requirement for employer vehicles used for farmworkers on temporary visas. While the association had asked in a public comment that the overall rulemaking changes by the federal government be withdrawn, on the seatbelt requirement, the association merely said it was impractical from a compliance perspective.

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Andres Sequera's last name and the city of Dunnellon. It has also been updated with Guatemala retracting a statement about some of its citizens being involved in the crash, with the country saying an accident in Chicago was confused with the one in Florida.

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash after a bus carrying farmworkers collided with a pickup truck on State Road 40 Tuesday, May 14, 2024, near Dunnellon, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Wreckage is cleared after a bus collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Wreckage is cleared after a bus collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

A bus is removed after it collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

A bus is removed after it collied with a small pickup truck killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pick up, Bryan Maclean Howard, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the crash scene as emergency workers are on the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the crash scene as emergency workers are on the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the pick up truck that was involved in the crash scene as emergency workers worked the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Highway Patrol Cpl. Brett Detweiler takes pictures of the pick up truck that was involved in the crash scene as emergency workers worked the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Emergency workers work the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

Emergency workers work the scene of a fatal bus crash carrying laborers that overturned Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. (Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows a bus carrying 53 farmworkers that crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. which is north of Orlando. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows a bus carrying 53 farmworkers that crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. which is north of Orlando. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

This photo provided by the Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. shows crews from Marion County Fire Rescue and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office assisting victims after a bus carrying farmworkers crashed and overturned early Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Ocala, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says eight people were killed and nearly 40 others were injured. (Marion County Fire Rescue Dept. via AP)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 near Dunnellon, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly crash on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 in Marion County, Fla. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida has overturned, killing several people and injuring other passengers. Authorities say the bus was transporting farmworkers on Tuesday morning when it collided with a truck and swerved off a road in Marion County, north of Orlando. (WFTS via AP)

The U.S. military-built pier in Gaza was unloading humanitarian aid again Thursday after being removed for a second time last week because of rough seas, a U.S. defense official said. The pier was reattached to Gaza’s shoreline on Wednesday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. military operations.

The pier, which cost the U.S. at least $230 million, was meant to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza via the U.N.’s World Food Program. It has faced a number of setbacks.

Aid groups have decried the pier as a distraction that took pressure off Israel to open more border crossings, which are far more productive at bringing aid into Gaza as Palestinians are facing widespread hunger. The United Nations has suspended its cooperation with the pier project since June 9 and is conducting a security review.

With Israel’s war against Hamas now in its ninth month, international criticism is growing over the U.S.-backed campaign of systematic destruction in Gaza, at a huge cost in civilian lives.

Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 37,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and basic goods to Gaza, which is now totally dependent on aid groups.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Currently:

— The fate of the latest cease-fire proposal hinges on Netanyahu and Hamas’ leader in Gaza.

— A rare public rift appears between Israel’s political and military leadership over how the war in Gaza is being conducted.

— The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group warns archenemy Israel against wider war.

— Hundreds died during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia amid intense heat, officials say.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here's the latest:

JERUSALEM – Israel remains opposed to allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross access to detention facilities accused of harshly treating Palestinians from Gaza and is working on creating an internal inspection system, state lawyers said Wednesday.

The Red Cross had access to Israeli detention facilities holding Palestinians until Oct. 7, when Israel sealed them off from external observation. Since then, testimonies have mounted from released Palestinians of brutal treatment at the detention centers, where they are held incommunicado and without trial.

The government lawyers wrote that Israeli lawmakers are examining a proposal to form an internal body that would visit the detention facilities, hear prisoners’ complaints and communicate the information to Israeli authorities.

The body is “expected to fulfill the purpose that the Red Cross has fulfilled until now,” the lawyers wrote. They were responding to a coalition of rights groups asking Israel’s highest court to grant the Red Cross access to the detention facilities.

In response, the main rights group petitioning the court said internal Israeli examiners could not substitute for international observers.

“Mounting testimonies reveal Israel has turned its detention facilities into a black hole for Palestinian prisoners enduring appalling conditions,” said the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, adding that the government was “investing a far-fetched mechanism in order to replace the accepted arrangement by the world.”

Since the Hamas attack Oct. 7, Israel has taken at least 4,000 Palestinians from Gaza into custody in Israel, interrogating them for potential ties to the militant group. Over 1,500 have been released, according to state figures.

Hamas has rejected Red Cross appeals to visit some 120 hostages it is believed to be holding. Israel has already pronounced 43 of the hostages dead.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military-built pier in Gaza was unloading humanitarian aid again Thursday after being removed for a second time last week because of rough seas, a U.S. defense official said. The pier was reattached to Gaza’s shoreline on Wednesday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. military operations.

The pier, which cost the U.S. at least $230 million, was meant to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza via the U.N.’s World Food Program. It has faced a number of setbacks, operating for only about a week before getting blown apart by high winds in May. The U.S. military detached the floating causeway and moved it to an Israeli port last week so it wouldn't break apart again.

Aid groups have decried the pier as a distraction that took pressure off Israel to open more border crossings, which are far more productive at bringing aid into Gaza. Israel's war against Hamas has caused widespread devastation and made domestic food production nearly impossible, leaving Gaza totally dependent on aid groups for food, medicine and basic goods. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has suspended its cooperation with the U.S.-led pier project since June 9. U.N. officials say they want to evaluate whether the Israeli military used the area around the pier in a June 8 hostage rescue that left more than 270 Palestinians dead, and whether any such use — or even a perception of it by fighters and ordinary people in Gaza — makes their continued role in the project untenable.

The U.S. and Israeli militaries say no part of the pier was used in the raid.

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry said Thursday the U.S. military-built pier in Gaza is up and running again after being detached for a second time last week because of rough seas.

Cyprus plays a key role in the pier because a security and inspection station it built screens the international aid destined for Gaza. There was no immediate confirmation from the U.S.

Theodoris Gotsis, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said the pier and the causeway in Gaza were both functioning. He said over the past 40 days, Cyprus has screened and loaded onto boats some 10,000 tons of aid for Gaza.

The U.S. military detached the causeway last week to prevent it from breaking apart again, as it did late last month when it was hit by bad weather.

The pier, used to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, has faced a number of setbacks since it was erected. It was operational for only about a week when it was blown apart by high winds in May and then removed again earlier this month.

The U.N.’s World Food Program, one of the main aid agencies to make use of the pier, had paused its distribution of aid coming from it earlier this month over security concerns. WFP could not immediately be reached for comment on whether it was resuming distribution.

NICOSIA, Cyprus — A spokesman for the European Union’s executive arm says any threat against Cyprus is a threat against the bloc’s 26 other member nations.

Peter Stano made the remark Thursday in response to a question regarding Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat that Cyprus could be implicated in a wider conflict if the island nation allows Israel to use its ports and airports to target Lebanon.

Stano said the EU fully supports Cyprus and that the trade bloc is in contact with “a number of partners in the region," including Lebanon and Hezbollah, in order to de-escalate tension.

Cyprus has enjoyed increasingly tight relations with Israel in recent years, spawned by the discovery of undersea natural gas deposits in waters between the two neighbors. Cyprus has hosted joint Israeli-Cypriot military exercises, but has not ben involved in any military operations.

Cyprus government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis repeated that any suggestion that Cyprus – either through its infrastructure or territory - would be involved in any military operation in Lebanon is “totally groundless.”

Letymbiotis reiterated that the island nation “is not part of the problem” but “part of the solution” thanks to its regional diplomatic footprint.

The Hezbollah militant group said at least three of its fighters were killed in Israeli strikes on Wednesday.

Lebanese state media reported multiple Israeli strikes along the border and in an area north of the coastal city of Tyre, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the frontier. The Israeli military said two Hezbollah launches damaged several vehicles in northern Israel.

The fighting came as Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden, returned to Israel after meeting with officials in Lebanon on Tuesday. There has been no word on whether he has made progress in his efforts to avoid a devastating regional war.

Kamel Mohanna, the head of the Amel Association, an NGO providing health services in Lebanon, said the group’s primary health center in the town of Khiam was hit and damaged by Israeli shelling.

Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border.

But the fighting has escalated in recent weeks, raising fears that the clashes could boil over into a full-blown war. Israel’s army announced late Tuesday that it has “approved and validated” plans for an offensive in Lebanon.

Israeli strikes already have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters,

Buildings are seen in Kiryat Shmona, a city next to border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Buildings are seen in Kiryat Shmona, a city next to border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Hussein, son of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, 55, who was killed last week by an Israeli strike in south Lebanon, speaks during a ceremony to commemorate the death of his father, in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Hussein, son of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, 55, who was killed last week by an Israeli strike in south Lebanon, speaks during a ceremony to commemorate the death of his father, in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

An Israel flag hangs on an area backdropped by buildings in Kiryat Shmona, a city next to border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

An Israel flag hangs on an area backdropped by buildings in Kiryat Shmona, a city next to border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Hezbollah supporters raise their fists and cheer as they watch a speech given by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during a ceremony to commemorate the death of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, 55, who was killed last week by an Israeli strike in south Lebanon, in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Hezbollah supporters raise their fists and cheer as they watch a speech given by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on a screen during a ceremony to commemorate the death of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, 55, who was killed last week by an Israeli strike in south Lebanon, in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

A damaged building, from previous shelling attacks from Lebanon, is seen in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A damaged building, from previous shelling attacks from Lebanon, is seen in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

In this combination image, Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, speaks on April 13, 2022, in Gaza City, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on June 18, 2024, in Tel Aviv. The fate of the proposed cease-fire deal for Gaza hinges in many ways on Sinwar and Netanyahu. Each faces significant political and personal pressures that may be influencing their decision-making and neither seems in a rush to make concessions to end the war. (AP Photo)

In this combination image, Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, speaks on April 13, 2022, in Gaza City, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on June 18, 2024, in Tel Aviv. The fate of the proposed cease-fire deal for Gaza hinges in many ways on Sinwar and Netanyahu. Each faces significant political and personal pressures that may be influencing their decision-making and neither seems in a rush to make concessions to end the war. (AP Photo)

A man drives his motorcycle past a damaged building, from previous shelling attacks from Lebanon, in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A man drives his motorcycle past a damaged building, from previous shelling attacks from Lebanon, in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Hezbollah began attacking Israel almost immediately after the Israel-Hamas war erupted on Oct. 7. There have been near daily exchanges of fire, though most of the strikes are confined to an area within a few mostly confined to the area around the border. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

Palestinians mourn their relative Tamer Mohsen killed in the Israeli bombardment of Nuseirat refugee camp, at the morgue of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Saher Alghorra)

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