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News / Nation & World

A survivor of the fatal Pennsylvania bus crash describes chaos, heroism after it turned over

By Associated Press
Published: August 7, 2023, 10:23am

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A bus carrying up to 50 people traveling from New York to Ohio crashed and hit another vehicle on a Pennsylvania interstate, killing three passengers, state police said.

The wreck happened during heavy rain around 11:50 p.m. Sunday on southbound Interstate 81 just north of Harrisburg, state police said.

The bus drove off the roadway, struck an embankment, rolled onto its right side and hit the back of a car that was stopped in the right lane of traffic, according to a crash report.

The three passengers were declared dead at the scene, the police report said, and others suffered injuries that ranged from minor to severe.

Matthew Oshiafi, a passenger on the bus operated by the Super Lucky Tour Company of Boston, told Pennlive.com that he remembered a terrible screeching and shuddering before it crashed and flipped on its side. He said he was sitting in the last row of the bus.

Oshiafi, 39, a New York City resident who was headed to Cincinnati to visit family, said the crash threw people from their seats and left some piled on top of others. He heard people screaming and saw people around him severely injured or unconscious.

Oshiafi said he saw a couple in a nearby seat with a baby and noticed the woman appeared to be unconscious and the man was trying to help her. The man handed the baby to Oshiafi, who said he passed the baby through the broken bus windshield to emergency responders.

“I’m shaking,” he told the newspaper on Monday, about ten hours after the crash. “I know people have died.”

One adult from the bus was critically injured, while one adult and one child were listed in serious condition at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, spokesperson Barbara Schindo said. In total, 28 patients were taken to that hospital. Patients ranged in age from 1 to 69, including five under the age of 18. Another hospital also treated some people from the wreck, police said.

A Dauphin County spokesperson said information about the people who died was not immediately available through the coroner’s office.

The name of the bus driver has not been released. Trooper Megan Frazer said Monday morning that more details about the wreck might not be released by police until Tuesday.

Peter Chan, the bus company manager, said in a brief phone interview Monday that he was “very sorry to hear about the accident” but had no further information about the crash because he hasn’t been able to talk with the driver, who was injured in the crash and remains hospitalized.