Toronto tour bus overturns in N.J., 23 sent to hospital
Published Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:09AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:10PM EDT
U.S. state troopers are investigating after a tour bus from Toronto overturned on a New Jersey highway exit ramp and landed in a ditch Saturday morning, sending 23 passengers to hospital – including two children.
Eight people remained in critical condition at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Centre in Patterson, N.J. Saturday night.
The bus driver said he veered off the highway after being cut off by another vehicle, but police are still investigating the cause of the incident.
The driver who suffered a gash to his arm was identified by ABC News as Neville Larmond.
The incident sent 23 people to six nearby hospitals, said State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman. Several other passengers were treated at the scene. A total of 57 passengers, including several children, were on board when the bus flipped onto its side and slid down an embankment.
The accident occurred before 8 a.m. ET, around 25 kilometres northwest of New York City on the Interstate 80 exit ramp in Wayne, N.J.
Many of the bus passengers were from the Toronto Central Adventist Church, located in North Toronto, and were heading to a Seventh Day Adventist event in Brooklyn.
The crash caused some of the bus windows to smash and three people were pinned down by several window frames, before being freed.
At least 40 rescue vehicles from surrounding towns responded to the accident, as well as multiple state police cruisers.
Rescuers removed all the passengers, including many who had trouble escaping through the windows and took the seriously injured to hospital.
Those group members who were not hurt boarded another bus heading toward their destination.
Passenger Donna Broones described to CTV Toronto the turmoil she experienced during the crash.
“You just felt the commotion and all of a sudden you knew that the bus had turned over because of the position you were in,” she said. “I just grabbed onto the seat ahead of me.”
Broones’ grandmother, Leona, said the crash caused someone to fall on top of her.
“I said, “Oh my God, what is this?’” she said. “I was laying on the floor. Someone was still on top of me, so someone had to pull me up off the floor."
Police said a Toronto-based company called Cynthia's Bus Tours had rented the bus from AVM Max 2000 Charter Services Inc.
Part of the interstate highway has been shut down near the accident, causing traffic delays.
Church member Ivy Henry said the community is thinking about the injured.
“We're a little church family… very close, closely knitted ... so when one is hurt we are all feeling the pain," she told CTV Toronto.
Relatives seeking information on the Canadian citizens believed to be on the bus can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade at 1-800-387-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Ashley Rowe and files from The Canadian Press