Charter bus crash in Texas kills 8, injures 44

Eight people killed and 44 others injured when a bus carrying people to a casino crashed in the US state of Texas.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A damaged OGA Charters bus is hauled away after a fatal rollover on Saturday south of the Dimmit-Webb County line on US 83 North in Texas.

Eight people were killed while 44 others sustained injuries after a charter bus travelling to a casino crashed in South Texas on Saturday, officials said.

Seven people died on the spot on US Highway 83 about 74 kilometres (46 miles) north of Laredo and another died later at a Laredo hospital, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Conrad Hein said.

"The driver of the bus lost control and rolled over," Hein said, adding, however, that everything is preliminary right now.

He said the driver, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, was among those who survived the accident. Names of other passengers were also not immediately available, Hein said.

Hein said it had rained Saturday morning but was unsure if that could be a factor in the crash that occurred just before 11:30 am local time. There were no other vehicles in the area at the time, he added.

The trooper said 23 people were taken to Doctors Hospital in Laredo, where the eighth victim died. Fifteen were taken to Laredo Medical Centre. Seven were taken to a Dimmit County hospital in Carrizo Springs.

About the investigation, he said his team members would be looking into what actually caused the accident but added that it may take some time. "We just know the driver lost control."

The National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday night it was sending a team to investigate the wreck. They were expected to arrive Sunday.

Priscilla Salinas, a spokeswoman for Laredo Medical Centre, said bus passengers being treated there were in stable condition. But could share no additional information.

The highway was reopened by early evening. 

The crash is one of the deadliest bus accidents in Texas within the last several years. In January 2015, two state corrections officers and eight inmates were killed after their Texas Department of Criminal Justice bus struck a piece of displaced highway guardrail west of Odessa. The bus fell about 6 metres (20 feet) before striking a Union Pacific freight train that happened to be passing beneath the highway. Last Thursday, the NTSB concluded that the wreck was caused by the bus hitting the guardrail piece.

Seventeen passengers died in 2008 near Sherman when their bus plunged over a highway bridge on their way to a religious retreat in Missouri. The NTSB blamed that crash on a retreaded tire on the right front axle that was punctured by an unknown object.

TRTWorld, AP