A fully loaded tour bus from Canada overturned on a highway pass in New Jersey on Saturday, leaving 23 people injured. The bus, which was carrying approximately 60 people at the time of the accident, was en route to New York City when the bus driver lost control while taking an exit on a highway in New Jersey, causing the bus to slide down an embankment and land on its side. Fortunately there were no fatalities in the incident.
The bus driver, who only suffered minor injuries, reported to the New Jersey Police Department that another car cut him off on the highway, forcing him to overturn. The exact circumstances surrounding the accident are yet to be investigated, however. The accident occurred at around 7.30am on the eastbound Interstate 80.
Eight of the passengers who were injured are said to be in a critical condition in hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Liz Asani. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, however. The remaining injured were treated at local hospitals for minor injuries.
The tour bus was chartered by a Toronto based church group on their way to a conference in New York City. Passengers who were not injured in the crash continued their journey on a second bus. The owners of the bus, Toronto-based AVM Max 2000 Charter Services Inc., are yet to make a comment on the incident.
According to passenger reports, a number of the bus windows burst at the time of impact, and some passengers were trapped underneath window frames, luggage and other debris. Medical services and rescue personnel responded promptly to the scene and freed the trapped passengers, transporting the injured to three local hospitals.
This crash is the latest in a series of tour bus accidents to have occurred over the last year on American highways. In 2011, a tour bus carrying a group of tourists from a casino based in Connecticut back to Chinatown in New York City smashed into a guardrail as it entered the city. In this incident, 13 passengers were killed and the bus driver is currently on trial for manslaughter.
The place where Saturday’s accident occurred is known by locals as the ‘spaghetti bowl’, due to the vast number of intersections that are found there. Road closures following the accident caused traffic to be backed up for hours while the scene was cleared, the injured transported to hospital and law enforcement officials investigated the accident site.