Pendleton, OR (near) Tour Bus Accident, Dec 2012

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa OREGON BUS WRECK Dec 2012


Pendleton, Oregon - Nine people are dead and at least 39 people injured after a tour bus crashed down a steep, snow-covered embankment near Pendleton on Sunday morning.
Emergency responders described a precarious scene, with rescuers using high-angle techniques and an all-terrain vehicle to carefully maneuver injured passengers and bodies up Cabbage Hill along Deadman Pass.
"Organized chaos is how I would describe it," said Pendleton Fire Chief Gary Woodson, who was on the scene just minutes after the accident.
The number of fatalities and injuries rose as emergency crews worked through the afternoon to extricate bus passengers.
Preliminary reports from Oregon State Police cited icy conditions as a contributing factor, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and send the bus skidding off the road, through a guardrail and down the nearly 100-foot embankment.
The agency was more cautious late Sunday, saying the cause of the accident was still under investigation.
The bus driver survived the accident but was unable to give information about the crash Sunday because of the severity of the injuries he sustained, according to Oregon State Police.
Local hospitals went into "disaster
protocol," with St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton taking in 26 passengers, according to hospital spokesman Larry Blanc. He could not confirm the nature of the injuries, but five patients were transported to other hospitals.
Additional staff was brought in to help handle the rush of patients and the hospital has been doing a lot of X-ray imaging, Blanc said.
An Oregon Health & Science University spokeswoman said four patients from the crash had been transported there as of Sunday night.
In total, at least four hospitals treated patients from the crash. St. Anthony Hospital, OHSU, Walla-Walla General in Washington and Good Shepherd Health Care System in Hermiston.
Meanwhile, the Umatilla County Office of Emergency Management set up a secondary shelter Sunday night for passengers who were not hospitalized. Red Cross officials were called in to assist.
Few details were known about the tour group Sunday, with most passengers hospitalized.
The bus is owned by Mi Joo Tour & Travel in Vancouver, Canada. An employee at Mi Joo Tour & Travel, Ryan Choi, said the company rents out its tour buses to ravel companies.
The group was on the final day of a nine-day tour, Choi said, returning to Canada after stopping in Las Vegas.
At the scene of the crash, investigators worked through the afternoon and into the night trying to piece together precisely what happened.
The area surrounding the narrow road that traverses the pass is shrouded in deeply packed pine trees. The embankment was covered in about a foot of snow.
When emergency responders arrived on the scene, the guardrail was smashed and almost a hundred feet down the snow-covered embankment, the bus "was intact, but definitely what you would expect from a fall like that," Woodson said.

The Oregonian Pendleton Oregon 2012-12-30

Partial list of killed and injured.
CHUN HO BAHN, 63, Bothell, Washington.
YOUMIN KIM, 11, South Korea.
YONGHO LEE, 75, Lynnwood, Washington.
RICHARD MICHAEL SOHN, 19, Bellevue, Washington.
OUN HONG JUNG, 67, Korea.
his wife JOONG WHA KIM, 63, of Korea.
DALE WILLIAM OSBORN, 57, Spanaway, Washington.
AE JA KIM, 61, Gangwon Province Korea.