One person died and many more injured after a bus carrying Canadian tourists hit a ditch and flipped in New York State.
The bus travelling from Quebec City to New York City on Interstate 87 crashed around 8 a.m. on Friday and was carrying 55 passengers and a driver, according to Major Richard Smith of the New York State Police.
Major Smith said the victim, a 14-year-old girl identified as Chelssy Mercier of Quebec City, was partially trapped under the bus, which sat on its side in the ditch.
First responders managed to extract the girl using jacks to lift the bus. A state trooper used a portable defibrillator but could not revive the girl, who had been travelling with her mother.
Three people suffered more serious injuries but their lives were not in danger and 51 others were treated for “mostly minor injuries” at three area hospitals. The passengers were aged six to 54. Many of them were teenagers and young adults travelling with family, according to police.
The crash took place near North Hudson, NY, about 200 kilometres south of Montreal. Don Jaquish, emergency services director in Essex county, told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that several people trapped inside the bus had to be removed by emergency personnel.
"I'm sure a lot of them crawled through the top hatches because the bus was on its side," he said.
Josiane Grimard of Quebec travel agency Jaimonvoyage.com said her company has sent a bus to retrieve passengers. She said it’s the first accident involving her company, which chartered the bus from Autobus Fleur de Lys, based near Quebec City.
“It’s very sad news for our entire team,” she said.
Ms. Grimard said the company has a regular route between Quebec and New York City every weekend in the summer, so the driver was used to the trip.
"He's a man of experience, all of our drivers are experienced drivers," she said.
Georges Morissette, president of Autobus Fleur de Lys, said in a statement the driver has nearly 30-years experience and an impeccable driving record. “He’s an excellent driver,” he said.
He has worked for Autobus Fleur de Lys since April 2012 and was getting back on the road after seven days off.
The vehicle involved is a Prevost luxury bus with a maximum capacity of 56 passengers.
"It was in perfect mechanical condition and had undergone a periodic inspection that confirmed it conformed with company standards and Quebec regulations," the company said.
The bus picked up travellers in Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres and Longueuil overnight before embarking for New York City.
With files from The Canadian Press