Two women from India were killed and 35 others injured when a tour bus veered off a New York highway and flipped Sunday afternoon. The bus, operated by Bedore Tours, was transporting a group of visitors from India from Washington D.C. to Niagara Falls when one of the vehicle’s front tires blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the bus.
According to initial reports, the two women who were killed in the rollover were sitting directly behind the driver. As is standard in the bus industry, nobody in the bus except the driver was wearing a seat belt. Four of the injured passengers remained in the hospital in guarded condition, according to the Ithaca Journal. Three of the hospitalized patients remain in critical condition.
The crash occurred about 4:15 p.m. on Interstate 390 in the town of Avoca, NY, about 50 miles south of Rochester and 90 miles southeast of Niagara Falls. According to the driver, a 58-year-old Rochester man with a clean driving record, the trip was proceeding normally until the tire blew out, causing him to lose control of the bus. Authorities investigating the crash believe the blown-out tire likely triggered the crash, which remains under investigation.
According to the Ithaca Journal, the bus’s tires were only a couple of months old. The bus had a good safety record and had just passed its last safety inspection on June 28, and Niagara County-based Bedore tours has a top “satisfactory” rating by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally, the driver maintained a proper log and neither fatigue nor drugs and alcohol are believed to have played a role.
Coincidentally, the Rochester area has seen its share of fatal tour bus crashes. In 2005, the driver of a bus transporting a women’s hockey team from Ontario, Canada, fell asleep at the wheel and crashed the bus into a truck that was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 390 in Geneseo, NY. In 2002, the driver of a tour bus fell asleep on the NY State Thruway in the town of Victor. Five people died in that crash.