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9-Year-Old Boy Dies After Crawling Underneath School Bus to Retrieve Football

"My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the student's family and school community," said Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez

• Police in Florida say a child was hit by a school bus at an apartment complex in Orange County shortly after exiting the vehicle on Tuesday

• The 9-year-old's aunt told reporters that the elementary school student was attempting to retrieve a football when he crawled underneath the bus

• The 54-year-old bus driver has reportedly worked with the local school district for over a decade

A 9-year-old boy in Florida was fatally struck by a school bus that he crawled underneath on Tuesday, authorities said.

Florida Highway Patrol said the child was fatally struck around 4 p.m. local time shortly after exiting the school bus at Waterford East Apartments in Orange County, according to NBC affiliate WESH and ABC affiliate WFTV.

The bus was stopped at a roundabout at the apartment complex when the Lawton Chiles Elementary student, whose name has not been released by authorities, crawled underneath, per WFTV and CBS affiliate WKMG-TV.

The child’s aunt told reporters Tuesday night that the child was attempting to retrieve a football when the incident occurred, FOX affiliate WOFL reported.

Related: Teen Dies After Car Crash While Heading Home from Work: ‘Wasn’t Much More They Could Do,’ Says Dad

Kenya Thomas, who lives at the complex, told WOFL that the boy who was hit and killed by the school bus was her son’s best friend. “I don’t think he can fully comprehend what’s going on,” she explained.

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Florida Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Related: Florida Mom and Daughter Lucky to Be Alive After 'Freak Accident' with Flying Tire, Police Say

FHP Lieutenant Tara Crescenzi said the child was the last student on the bus when he was dropped off at the apartment complex, according to WKMG-TV.

In a statement, Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez said the school district “is fully cooperating with the ongoing Florida Highway Patrol investigation.” Counseling has also been made available “for any student or staff member dealing with the news.”

“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the student's family and school community,” Vazquez said. “To lose a child so suddenly and tragically is extremely difficult especially for family and friends."

Related: Truck Driver Dies After Helping Children Get Out of School Bus Crash: 'He Was Pretty Much Done'

FHP said the 54-year-old man driving the bus was not injured and remained at the scene after the incident, according to WKMG. The man has worked as a driver for the district for over a decade, per WESH and WFTV.

According to WESH, authorities are reviewing footage from the incident to get a better idea of what happened,

Crescenzi said Tuesday’s incident will likely have a lasting impact on the victim’s family. “It’s going to be extremely tragic for a long period of time, and probably for the rest of their lives,” she added, per WKMG-TV.

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