At least five people were killed and 60 were injured early Sunday in a vehicle pileup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that involved a bus mostly full of foreign tourists headed from New Jersey to Ohio, officials said.
The chain-reaction crash occurred around 3:40 a.m. on the turnpike near New Stanton, about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, officials said.
Trooper Stephen Limani, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police, confirmed at a news conference the number of deaths and injuries in the pileup.
At the time of the crash, temperatures were just below freezing with fog and intermittent light snow, leading investigators to suspect that weather may have been a factor in the crash, Limani said.
He identified the tour bus involved in the crash as belonging to Z&D Tours in Rockaway, New Jersey. He said the bus was headed from New Jersey to Cincinnati when the horrific crash unfolded.
Limani said the operator of the bus appeared to have lost control, causing the chain-reaction wreck.
“As they were traveling, that bus was headed on a downhill grade and the bus was unable to negotiate a corner,” Limani said. “That bus went up an embankment, rolled over and then was subsequently struck by two tractor-trailers.”
Limani said a third tractor-trailer and a passenger car plowed into the wreckage.
The pileup closed the turnpike in both directions. Limani said the vehicles involved in the crash were so entangled that officials did not expect to reopen the turnpike until Sunday evening.
At least 36 people, ranging in age 7 to their 60s, were taken to area hospitals for treatment, most going to Forbes Hospital in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania, according to Limani. Two of the victims were in critical condition, he said.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: ABC News, Bill Hutchinson and Alexandra Faul