PENDLETON, Ore. — A tour bus careered through a guardrail along an icy Oregon highway and several hundred feet down a steep embankment Sunday, killing nine people and injuring more than 20, authorities said.
The charter bus carrying about 40 people went out of control around 10:30 a.m. on snow- and ice–covered Interstate 84, the Oregon State Police said. The bus crashed near the start of a 7-mile section of road that winds down a hill.
The bus came to rest at the bottom of a snowy slope and landed upright, with little or no debris visible around the crash site.
More than a dozen rescue workers descended the hill and used ropes to help retrieve people from the wreckage in freezing weather. The bus driver was among the survivors, but had not yet spoken to police because of the severity of the injuries the driver had suffered.
Lt. Greg Hastings said the bus crashed along the west end of the Blue Mountains, and west of an area called Deadman Pass. Stretches of highway in the rural and agricultural area of east Oregon tend to be icy in winter.
St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton treated 26 people from the accident, said hospital spokesman Larry Blanc. Five of those treated at St. Anthony were transported to other facilities.
Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard said the bus was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver, British Columbia, and police said the bus was en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.
A bus safety website run by the U.S. Department of Transportation said Mi Joo has six buses, none of which have been involved in any accidents in at least the past two years.