A passenger bus from Chicago to St. Louis plowed into a bridge support Thursday in southern Illinois, injuring at least 32 people and closing an interstate highway in both directions, authorities told NBC News.

Thirty ambulances and 10 emergency helicopters responded to the scene on Interstate 55 a few miles north of Litchfield, in Montgomery County south of the capital, Springfield, said Illinois State Trooper Doug Francis.

The number and severity of the injuries remained unclear.

St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield told NBC News that it was treating nine patients and expected two more. Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton said it was treating three people and that six others were en route. Hillsboro Area Hospital said it was treating three patients with non-life-threatening injuries. Carlinville Hospital said it was treating eight patients.

The bus, a double-decker express operated by the budget intercity service Megabus, was running from Chicago to St. Louis, the company told NBC News. It said 81 people had tickets for the trip.

Passengers told KMOV-TV of St. Louis that a tire blew out before the bus rammed into the concrete pillar. Video from NBC station KSDK of St. Louis showed that it sustained extensive damage. Multiple people could be seen being strapped into gurneys, some completely covered by sheets.

Source: NBC News


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