A bus driver has been killed and six passengers seriously injured after a tour bus returning from the Grand Canyon was involved in an accident. The tour bus was conducting a routine tour of Arizona and Nevada, carrying passengers from the hustle, lights and entertainment of Las Vegas to admire the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, passing the Hoover Dam on the way.
The Silver State Trailways bus was carrying approximately 50 passengers on this standard tourist route on Friday when disaster struck. As the bus was returning from the Grand Canyon late on Friday evening, the bus driver appeared to suffer from a medical emergency or fall asleep and lost control of the bus, according to investigators.
The bus was travelling northbound on Highway 93, and the accident occurred just as the bus was approaching the Nevada state boundary. According to a statement released by the Arizona Highway Patrol, initial reports suggest that the driver experienced some kind of medical event such as a stroke or heart attack, losing consciousness. As a result, the bus veered suddenly off the road, hitting through a ravine and across bumpy terrain for more than 700 feet before skidding to a stop. Although the front portion of the bus was damaged, the vehicle remained on all four wheels and did not overturn. There were no other vehicles involved in the incident.
According to the bus company that was operating the bus, Silver State Trailways, the bus driver who is yet to be publicly identified, may have suffered from a heart attack. The driver was found to be dead on the scene, most likely due to a medical cause rather than trauma suffered in the accident. 48 passengers, the majority of which were tourists from Europe and Asia, were injured. Most passengers had only minor injuries and were treated on the scene and then released. However, six people were seriously injured and were airlifted to Las Vegas where they are currently being treated at the University Medical Center.
According to the Medical Center’s spokesperson, Danita Cohen, the injured passengers are recovering from non-life threatening injuries and are expected to be discharged from hospital soon.
President of Silver State Trailways, Mr. Tony Fiorini, did not reveal the name or the age of the bus driver that was killed. It is not known whether the driver had a previous medical condition. An autopsy will be carried out on the driver’s body later this week to determine the cause of his death.