Tour Bus Crashes; One Killed, Scores Injured
SPOKANE, Mo. (AP) _ A tour bus chartered by a senior citizens’ group crashed about 40 feet down an embankment after colliding with a car Saturday, killing at least one passenger and injuring dozens more, authorities said.
Forty-seven people were believed to have been on the bus, authorities said. It was chartered by a group of senior citizens from several Chicago area churches and was headed for the resort town of Branson, said a passenger, Ed Gorski, who received minor injuries in the accident.
The dead passenger was a 72-year-old Chicago woman, said Trooper Ron Cole. He said the woman’s name was being withheld while relatives were notified.
Hospitals reported treating at least 41 people. At least 20 people were admitted, hospital officials said. Many of the others were treated for cuts, scrapes and bruises.
″A significant number of injuries appear to have occurred when the bus flipped. A lot of the passengers hit other passengers,″ said Mike Peters, spokesman for St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Springfield.
At least three people were airlifted to Springfield hospitals, about 25 miles north, Cole said.
″There was a lot of crying and confusion. A lot of people with chest pains and they were hurting real bad,″ said motorist Stan Connolly, of Springfield, who stopped to help.
Gorski, however, said some of the passengers were just shaken.
″We all hollered, and some people are shook up more than hurt,″ he said. ″They’re more frightened than anything else.″
Connolly, who was driving northbound on U.S. 160 behind the car involved in the accident, said it appeared that the driver bent down to pick something up when his car veered into the southbound lane.
Cole said the car hit the left front corner of the southbound bus, which swerved to the right and crashed down the embankment, landing on its side.
The highway was closed for about two miles in either direction and was expected to remain closed for four or five hours while crews worked to remove the bus from the ditch, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.