Nine killed as bus skids off I-84 near Pendleton
December 30, 2012 3:04 p.m. - Updated: 8:49 p.m.
Nine people died and more than 35 were injured after a chartered bus crashed on Interstate 84 near Pendleton earlier today.
Oregon State Police originally attributed the fatal crash to the driver losing control of the charter bus Sunday morning on ice-covered lanes near milepost 227. The bus went through a guardrail then tumbled side over side down a 100-foot embankment.
But the agency was more cautious late Sunday, saying the cause of the accident was still under investigation.
The accident occurred just before 10:30 a.m. about 13 miles east of Pendleton in Eastern Oregon. The scene is roughly a few miles west of Deadman Pass, an Oregon State Police spokesman said.
The exact number of those on board the bus hasn’t been determined, said Oregon State Police spokesman Lieut. Gregg Hastings.
The bus driver survived the crash, but investigators have not be able to question him because of severity of injuries and medical care.
The Oregon State Police has said the tour bus belonged to Mi Joo Tour & Travel, of Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s not clear which company was operating the bus, however.
The Portland Oregonian quoted an employee at Mi Joo Tour & Travel, Ryan Choi, who said the company rents out its tour buses to travel companies.
The group was on the final day of a nine-day tour, Choi said, returning to Canada after stopping in Las Vegas.
St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton confirmed 26 patients have been transported there. Five of those patients were transported to a secondary hospital for treatment. The other 21 patients are still being treated in Pendleton.
Investigators have remained at the scene of the accident most of the day and evening.
A Google maps location of the accident is: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207587110317985553484.0004d21dbb478163fde6d&msa=0&ll=45.59308,-118.532782&spn=0.026126,0.052314