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Tour bus from Vegas crashes in Oregon: 9 killed, 20 injured

Oregon State Police and first responders arrive at the scene of a bus crash Sunday morning east of Pendleton, Ore. (CNN)
Oregon State Police and first responders arrive at the scene of a bus crash Sunday morning east of Pendleton, Ore. (CNN)
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Updated: 12/31/2012 5:33 am
The Associated Press
PENDLETON, Ore. -- A tour bus careened through a guardrail along an icy Oregon highway and several hundred feet down a steep embankment Sunday, killing nine people and injuring about 20 others, authorities said.

The charter bus -- which was headed from Las Vegas to Vancouver, B.C. -- was carrying about 40 people and lost control about 10:30 a.m. on the snow- and ice-covered lanes of Interstate 84, according to the Oregon State Police.

The bus came to rest at the bottom of a snowy slope. More than a dozen rescue workers descended the hill and used ropes to help retrieve people from the wreckage in freezing weather. The bus driver was among the survivors, but had not yet spoken to police because of the severity of the injuries the driver had suffered.

Lt. Greg Hastings said the accident happened west end of the Blue Mountains, and west of an area called "Deadman Pass." Stretches of highway in the rural and agricultural area of east Oregon tend to be icy in winter months.

I-84 is a major east-west highway through Oregon that follows the Columbia River Gorge.

Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard said the bus was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver, B.C., and state police the bus was en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

A woman who answered the phone at a listing for the company also confirmed with The Associated Press that it owned the bus and said it was on a tour of the Western U.S. She declined to give her name.

The bus crash was the second fatal accident in Oregon on Sunday morning. A 69-year-old man died in a rollover accident.
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