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Two Killed, 21 Hurt in Minnesota Tour Bus Crash

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Austin, MNA tour bus carrying a load of passengers home from a casino visit went out of control and skidded off a freeway outside Austin, Minnesota late yesterday. CNN is reporting this morning that two passengers were killed and 21 were injured when the tour bus overturned on Interstate 90, about three miles west of Austin.

"All 23 people on board were either injured or killed," said Andy Skoogman, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Officials seemed unsure of the death toll (reported this morning as two). At least two of the injured were in critical condition, officials said—but it is not known if those particular individuals were the passengers who died.

The bus was returning a group of tourists from a casino run in Northwood, Iowa back to Rochester, Minnesota, according to a spokesperson with the Minnesota State Patrol. Weather conditions were described as good when the accident happened. According to reports, the bus was proceeding east along Interstate 90 when it crossed the highway median, careened across westbound lanes and overturned.

The driver of the bus apparently survived but was taken to hospital in serious condition. Investigators have thus far been unable to talk with him. Investigators spoke to some of the passengers; however, no information was forthcoming.

Even though there were no other cars involved in the accident, the scene along the highway was pandemonium. CNN reports that 10 ambulances descended upon the accident scene where the bus lay in a ditch, overturned, on the right side of the roadway. Several medical helicopters were also called to the scene.

There was no information as to the origin of the particular bus or to whom it was registered. Previous tour bus accidents have revealed that some tour buses have not been properly registered or maintained. In some cases drivers were found to harbor dubious driving records and various safety citations.

The investigation continues.


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