8 People Die In New Mexico Bus Accident
Eight people died in northwestern New Mexico after a head-on crash involving a tractor-trailer and a Greyhound bus.
Dozens of passengers could be seen attempting to climb out of the wreckage, while bystanders on the Interstate 40 walked through the accident debris with ladders. Most of the 49 bus passengers, which included children and adults, were taken to the hospital for a variety of accident injuries. According to state police, the driver of the truck involved in the head-on collision suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.
Authorities originally reported that seven people died in the accident, but the death toll increased to 8 after the state medical investigator's office received one more body from a hospital.
The New Mexico State Police released a statement that said the identities of the dead would not be disclosed until their next of kin were notified.
The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. when a semi-truck that was traveling eastbound on I-40 in McKinley County blew a tire. This caused the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle as it crossed the median and collided with the westbound bus. Aerial footage of the accident showed that the bus sustained damaged in front, but remained upright in the grass median. The truck and its trailer could be seen turned over on its side with its cargo spilled nearby.
According to one witness, Chris Jones, people who were driving on the highway stopped to help the accident victims when they didn’t see any ambulances around. They were “just trying to help them, comfort them, calm them down, get them taken care of until EMS got there," said Jones.
Marc Gonzales, another witness, described the scene as a "complete catastrophe." Gonzales said, "It's by far one of the worst accidents I've encountered. ... It was horrible… You could tell that people were distressed, screams were coming from the bus."
20 people were taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup where 10 were treated for broken bones and bruises. One person was in critical condition, while two were in serious condition.
Acting chief medical officer Dr. Kevin Gaines said 6 patients were released and 4 others were transferred to medical facilities in New Mexico and Arizona.
The Greyhound bus was on its way to Los Angeles from St. Louis and made a stop in Albuquerque just before the crash.
Greyhound had the following to say about the accident, “Our first priority is taking care of our passengers and their families as this incident has deeply impacted all involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone as we continue to give our support to all affected.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it will send 10 investigators to the accident scene.
This is the second deadly crash involving a passenger bus to occur in the state in the last few months. In July, a bus crashed along the I-25 near Bernalillo after the driver attempted to avoid an accident. The buss rolled over and as struck by a semi-truck. 3 people died in that accident.
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