WHITNEY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)— Authorities in upstate New York say a charter bus carrying tourists from Poland was going too fast when it crashed and flipped over.
It happened Wednesday night on a rural stretch of Interstate 81 near Whitney Point, about 15 miles north of Binghamton.
The bus landed on its roof in a ditch. Police say 30 people were hurt, including a woman who was pinned underneath the bus.
“They had to actually dig the dirt underneath the bus to free the lady,” said state police Sgt. Todd Burdick.
State police Capt. Eric Janis said Thursday that 19 people were treated at three Binghamton-area hospitals. None of the injuries were serious.
State police said heavy rain and speed caused the accident, although investigators don’t know yet how fast the bus was going before it crashed.
The tour company said all the passengers were brought back to New Jersey, and Janis said police were trying to confirm that all the injured had been released.
Police said the bus was licensed to Princeton Holdings Inc. of Morrisville, Pa., which also owns the company that operated the tour, Trenton-based Amerpol Tours.
M.J. Stawowezyk, the tour company’s general manager, said the group arrived in Niagara Falls on Tuesday afternoon and spent the night in a hotel on the American side of the falls.
Stawowezyk said his company specializes in U.S. sightseeing trips for Polish tourists. He said he believed most of those on the bus were Polish nationals.
This is just the latest in a series of tour bus crashes that have been plaguing the northeast in recent months.
In March, 15 people were killed when a bus scraped along a guard rail, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole along Interstate 95 on the Bronx-Westchester line.
Four people were killed in May when a Sky Express operated bus returning to Chinatown from North Carolina swerved off the road and overturned on I-95 in Virginia.
The driver of that bus, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung, is charged with four felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. He has pleaded not guilty.
Then in July, one person was killed and 30 injured in a crash in Waterloo when a New York City-bound Farr’s Coach Lines bus was pulling onto Interstate 90 when it was hit in the rear by a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles burst into flames.
In the wake of these and other tour bus crashes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suspended the operating licenses of eight charter and tour bus companies and 100 of their buses after repeated failures in safety inspections.
Cuomo said the companies each failed three or more roadside inspections of buses or drivers in the last six months.
The state Department of Transportation also is bolstering its crew of inspectors to conduct thousands more inspections targeting the companies with poor safety check records.
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