Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Investigators probe crash of Vancouver tour bus

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PENDLETON, Ore. -- Investigators in Oregon are trying to piece together the final moments before a Vancouver-bound tour bus carrying 47 people careened down a steep hillside, ejecting some of the passengers and killing nine.

Police said they expected investigators to complete an inspection of the bus and an inventory of personal property and documents on Tuesday.

Oregon State Police identified one of the nine victims as a 57-year-old Washington man. Authorities said Dale William Osborn of Spanaway was killed in Sunday's crash and his wife, Sue Osborn, remained hospitalized in Pendleton.

His daughter, Jennifer Sherman of Colorado Springs, Colo., said she was told her father was hit in the head by a rock while her mother was thrown into a river bed.

She last spoke to her father two weeks ago.

"He was very happy," Sherman said. "He's a very good man."

Authorities have not yet released the names of the other eight people who died, but police said the four men and four women were of Asian descent and one female victim may be a juvenile.

The bus was carrying tourists, including some who had been living in Canada, on the final leg of a nine-day tour of the western United States.

State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said it could take a month or more to determine whether the driver, a 54-year-old man from Vancouver, will face any charges.

State police revised the number aboard the bus to 47 from 48 on Tuesday and confirmed 39 people were transported for treatment of injuries and at least 14 of them remained in hospital.

The Red Cross said some of the survivors were too terrified to get on another bus, so a nearby Ford dealer offered to drive them in smaller passenger vehicles. Some were expected to begin the trip today.

Hastings said Monday investigators were still trying to confirm the citizenship of the victims but a majority were of South Korean background and lived in British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon and even Idaho.

Police said Tuesday they were working with the Korean Consulate Office in Seattle to make positive identifications, next-of-kin notifications and property identification.

A list of the injured released by police named seven Canadian residents, including the driver, identified as Haeng Kyu Hwang.

The bus was travelling westbound in the left lane of Interstate 84 when it hit a concrete barrier, veered across both westbound lanes and went through the guardrail before plunging about 60 metres down the embankment, Hastings said. The National Transportation Safety Board said the bus rolled at least once.

When the tour bus came to a rest, terrified passengers looked for their loved ones.

"People screamed and yelled," said Jaemin Seo, a 23-year-old student from Suwon, South Korea, who has been studying in Vancouver. "Some mothers screamed to find their son or daughter."

 

-- The Associated Press, with files from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 A10

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