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Deaths reported in US bus crash

At least nine dead and 26 others injured when bus crashes through barrier and falls into a ravine in Oregon.
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2012 08:36
Icy conditions have made roads on the Oregon highway extremely dangerous [EPA]

A Canada-bound bus has crashed through a guard rail on an icy road in the US state of Oregon and plunged  into a ravine, killing at least nine people and injuring at least 26 others, state police said.

The bus fell a couple hundred meters on Sunday before crashing, Oregon State Police said on its website on Monday, adding that the chartered bus was reportedly heading home to Vancouver, Canada from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Police in the northwestern state are still investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred in the morning near the city of Pendleton, in northeastern Oregon.

The rescue effort was complicated by the drop-off from the highway, and police said "personnel trained for rope rescues" were called in to help.

About 40 passengers appeared to have been onboard the bus, but the numbers have not yet been confirmed. Police confirmed that the bus was owned by Mi Joo Tour & Travel from Vancouver.

The names and nationalities of the victims and other passengers were not immediately released, but many "are believed to be out of country residents," according to police.

Although the bus driver survived the crash, investigators have not been able to interview him due to the severity of the injuries.

There was at least one other fatal crash in northeastern Oregon early Sunday due to snowy and icy conditions, police said, urging all drivers to take precautions while travelling.

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