Tour bus carrying seniors rolls over in Lake Placid

Emergency personnel assist crash victims in Lake Placid on Monday after their tour bus rolled over. The seniors, who came from all over the country, were on a cultural tour and had just visited murals in Lake Placid. The bus swerved to avoid a car, an official said.

Associated Press

Emergency personnel assist crash victims in Lake Placid on Monday after their tour bus rolled over. The seniors, who came from all over the country, were on a cultural tour and had just visited murals in Lake Placid. The bus swerved to avoid a car, an official said.

LAKE PLACID — A tour bus carrying seniors on a cultural tour rolled over Monday on a rural stretch of road in Central Florida, killing two people and injuring more than a dozen others, authorities said.

The bus carrying 30 people including the driver had just visited murals in Lake Placid, about 30 miles northwest of Lake Okeechobee, and was headed back to a nearby hotel when it crashed. Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton said the bus swerved to avoid a car that had pulled in front of it. It rolled at least twice.

"It was a very graphic scene," Benton said.

Tiffany Bender, a spokeswoman for Florida Hospital Heartland Division, said 11 people were taken to Lake Placid hospital. She said 12 others were taken to the group's hospital in Sebring.

The passengers, who ranged in age from 66 to 87, had traveled to the area from around the United States to participate in an educational program affiliated with South Florida Community College in Avon Park.

College president Norm Stephens said the school's director of community education was on the bus and called him around 2:15 p.m. to tell him of the wreck.

"It's tragic," he said. "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. It's a horrible thing."

They were part of the Exploritas program, formerly known as Elderhostel. Stephens said the seniors were on a tour called Discover Old Florida, and that the college had hired the bus to drive the group.

According to the Exploritas Web site, the tour included nature trail hikes and visits to area historical museums.

Tour bus carrying seniors rolls over in Lake Placid 02/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2010 10:08pm]

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