7 Dead In Horrible a New Mexico Head-on Semi-Truck and Greyhound Bus Crash
New Mexico police officials are reporting the at least 7 people were killed in when a semi-truck crashed head-on with a nearly packed Greyhound bus. “We do expect that number to rise,” New Mexico Officer Ray Wilson said Thursday concerning the horrible accident. Witnesses say the there were dozens of passengers trying to crawl out of the windows of the bus while some bystanders walked among piles of debris carrying ladders.
Most of the 49 people on the bus, including adults and children, were taken to area hospitals with an assortment of injuries. The driver of the truck sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, said state police. As of Thursday night, seven have been confirmed dead and state officials have said that the identities of the deceased would not be released until the next of kin were notified.
The tragic events that led to the horrific scene began abo12:30 pm when a semi-truck was traveling eastbound along I-40 in McKinley VCounty and blew a tire. The driver lost control of the vehicle, which crossed the median and struck the westbound truck.
People who had been traveling on the highway and saw the accident or came upon the scene a few moments after stopped to help as they saw no first responders on scene yet. Chris Jones was one of those travelers.
“Just trying to help them, comfort them, calm them down, get them taken care of until EMS got there,” Jones told CNN affiliate KCAL.
Jones, who has had some medical training as a Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter, said he first tried to get an idea of who was hurt.
Another witness to the accident, Marc Gonzales, said the scene was a “complete catastrophe,” with the highway littered with skid marks on the side of the road. Passengers tried to climb out of the bus windows and bystanders grabbed ladders from their vehicles to try to rescue them, he said.
“It’s by far one of the worst accidents I’ve encountered. … It was horrible,” Gonzales told KRQE.
“You could tell that people were distressed, screams were coming from the bus,” he said.
Twenty patients were initially taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Clinic in Gallup, acting chief medical officer Dr. Kevin Gaines told reporters. Some families were among the patients, as well as four children, he said.
Ten patients were being treated for injuries ranging from broken bones to bruises, he said. One was in critical condition and two were in serious condition, Gaines reported.
Six patients were released and four were transferred to other medical facilities in New Mexico and neighboring Arizona.
The Greyhound bus, headed for Los Angeles, had originally departed from St. Louis and had just made a stop in Albuquerque prior to the crash according to Greyhound officials.
“Our first priority is taking care of our passengers and their families as this incident has deeply impacted all involved,” the company said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone as we continue to give our support to all affected.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending 10 investigators to the site of the crash.
This is not the first deadly crash involving a passenger bus in the state in recent months. In July, the driver of a passenger bus tried to avoid a crash along I-25 near Bernallio, but lost control and rolled crossing the highway. The bus was then plowed by a semi-truck traveling in the opposite direction.
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