Nine people were killed and more than two dozen injured when a charter bus veered out of control yesterday morning on an icy stretch of interstate in eastern Oregon and plunged a few hundred feet down an embankment. The bus, bound for Vancouver, Canada, from Las Vegas, crashed through a guardrail near the start of a notorious 7-mile section of road that winds down a hill. More than a dozen rescue workers descended the hill and used ropes to help retrieve people from the wreckage in freezing weather. The driver was among the survivors, but was too badly injured to speak to police.
A police spokesman said the bus crashed along the west end of the Blue Mountains, and west of an area called Deadman Pass. The area is well known locally for its hazards, and the state transportation department advises truck drivers that "some of the most changeable and severe weather conditions in the Northwest" can lead to slick conditions and poor visibility. Drivers are urged to use "extreme caution and defensive driving techniques," and warned that snow and black ice are common in the fall through the spring. (Read more bus accident stories.)