CLEARFIELD, Pa. - A New York-bound bus veered off a highway and crashed in central Pennsylvania early yesterday killing two people and injuring 32 others, authorities said.
The bus was traveling east on Interstate 80 with 36 people aboard when it crashed six miles west of Clearfield about 3:30 a.m., state police said.
The bus ran off the right side of the two-lane highway before veering left across the road, running up an embankment and flipping onto its side in a grassy area, Trooper Jamie Levier said at an afternoon news conference.
Two people died, but authorities did not immediately release any information about the victims. Thirty-one of the injured, ranging in age from a toddler to a 50-year-old, were taken to Clearfield Hospital, and eight were transferred to Altoona Hospital. One was admitted to Clearfield Hospital with "serious injuries" but was stable, while the rest were treated and released, hospital spokeswoman Amy Duke said.
Another victim was taken directly to Altoona Hospital, which had two people listed in serious condition and seven in guarded condition.
Investigators initially had some difficulty piecing together what happened because most of the passengers did not speak English, but the language barrier did not hamper efforts, Levier said.
State police brought a Chinese interpreter to Clearfield Hospital to help communicate with the victims. Most could not speak English, Hua said.
The injured declined to comment. Hua said most of the passengers told him they were sleeping at the time of the crash.
"The thing they remember, they woke up by the screaming," Hua said. "The next thing they knew, they were on the ground."
The hospital has been in contact with the Chinese consulate in New York to help notify the families of victims.
Rain had fallen in the area overnight. Some of the victims who arrived at the hospital were wearing wet clothes, a nurse supervisor said.
Authorities declined to comment on the cause of the accident, which remains under investigation.
Hua said some of the victims told him they were from Los Angeles, Cleveland and New York. The bus has been traveling from Chicago to New York, police said.
Yuk Sau Wong of OK Travel Bus Inc. in New York said the bus, one of two or three the company owns, left Youngstown, Ohio, between midnight and 1 a.m. bound for New York. She said the bus line mainly serves the Chinese community but also carries other passengers.
Clearfield is about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.