A charter bus heading back to Vancouver, Canada from Las Vegas, Nevada, slid off the edge of a highway in Oregon, killing at least nine people and injuring twenty more. The bus was charted in Canada for a trip to Las Vegas and encountered freezing weather near Pendleton, Oregon on a dangerous stretch of Interstate Highway 84.
Rescue crews from Umatilla County, Oregon and Oregon State Police had a difficult time with recovering the injured Canadians because of the steep hill the bus slid down and the foot of fresh snow that was on the floor of the ravine. According to the local newspaper in Pendleton, Oregon, and a spokesman for towns hospital, the emergency room staff was quite busy treating the casualties.
I still remember being a teanager and hopping aboard a chartered bus with friends and heading east to ski in Utah and Colorado. Even at highschool age I wondered how the buses could fly past passenger cars which were stuck in the snow and sliding across the ice. The answer was not based upon four wheel drive or snow chains. Rather, it was based upon a desire to get the trip done as quickly as possible and move on to the next charter tour. I still remember siting (unrestrained) in a bus en route to Utah and thinking it was cool that we were sliding sideways across the highway. It doesn't seem so cool now.
I often wondered why passengers in buses weren't required to wear seat belts or, for that matter, why there were rarely, if ever, any seat belts in buses. Seeing the top nearly ripped off the bus in Oregon makes me think it would not likely matter if those passengers were belted in.
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