The death toll from a horrific tour bus crash  has risen from five to nine after the vehicle slid off an icy interstate in  Oregon before tumbling over a steep embankment near an area known as Deadman  Pass.

Police say the bus lost control along snow and ice-covered lanes on Interstate 84 causing it to crash through a guardrail in eastern Oregon around  10.30am this morning injuring more than 20 others.

The bus carrying about 40 people from Las  Vegas to Vancouver, B.C. fell about a few hundred feet before finally coming to  a stop according to state police.

All of the last ‘viable victims’ have since  been removed from the bus, according to Pendleton Fire Chief Gary Woodson  speaking to East Oregonian.

Rescue workers were using ropes to help  retrieve people from the crash scene.

St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton treated 26  people from the accident, including some who were treated and then  transported  to other medical facilities, said hospital spokesman Larry  Blanc.

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 months.

The bus slid down the hill and landed  upright, with little or no debris visible around the crash site.

I-84 is a major east-west highway through  Oregon that follows the Columbia River Gorge.

Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack  Remillard said the bus was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver,  B.C.

A woman who answered the phone at a listing  for the company confirmed with The Associated Press that it owned the bus and  said it was on a tour of the Western U.S. She declined to give her  name.

A bus safety website run by the U.S.  Department of Transportation said Mi Joo Tour & Travel has six buses, none  of which have been involved in any accidents in at least the past two  years.

A spokesman for the American Bus Association  said buses carry more than 700 million passengers a year in the United  States.

‘The industry as a whole is a very safe  industry,’ said Dan Ronan of the Washington, D.C.,-based group. ‘There are only  a handful of accidents every year. Comparatively speaking, we’re the safest form  of surface transportation.’

The bus crash was the second fatal  accident  on I-84 in Oregon on Sunday morning due to icy conditions after a 69-year-old  man died in a rollover accident.

Source: The Daily Mail


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