Tour Bus Plunge Kills One, Injures 23
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A tour bus plunged 200 feet from a muddy highway into a ravine in a remote area near the Canadian border, killing a man and injuring at least 23 people, officials said.
The bus carrying 41 passengers and a driver left the Taylor Highway 23 miles south of Eagle and 110 miles east of Fairbanks on Friday after encountering a fuel truck while descending a hill, State Troopers spokesman Bill Farber said here.
Twenty-three passengers were hospitalized in Fairbanks, including one person in intensive care, and the others were sent to an Army hospital near Fairbanks for examination, Farber said.
The driver, David Kasser, 24, of Anchorage, suffered superficial injuries and shock, said Gray Line spokesman Dave Bean.
Further information on the extent of the injuries and the conditions of the injured was not immediately available.
The accident near Canada’s Yukon Territory probably occured just before 3 p.m., when troopers in Anchorage learned of the crash, Farber said.
A physician and assistants from Tok 180 miles southeast of Fairbanks were flown to the accident scene, Farber said. Eight helicopters provided by the military, state troopers and a company were dispatched to pick up the injured.
The bus ″went off a veritable cliff,″ and rescue efforts were hampered by the steep terrain, the spokesman said. Three or four people were needed just to carry one victim up the hill.
″It’s a real remote area,″ Farber said. He said the bus left a serpentine stretch of highway pelted by rain for several days.
The name of the man who was killed was not released. Gray Line spokesman Dave Bean said the company would not release passengers’ names until relatives were notified of the accident.
The company sent an investigative team to the scene. Kasser, who has worked for Gray Line of Alaska for three years, was interviewed by investigators after the accident, Bean said.
The passengers were on the ninth day of a 15-day ″Klondike Explorer″ tour of Alaska that included travel by boat, train and plane, Bean said.