Touring teens injured in Utah bus crash

July 17, 2008 6:22:42 PM PDT
A tour bus went off a state highway near Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah, landing upside down in a creek bed and catching fire Thursday. At least five people aboard the bus were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Cameron Roden said. The bus was carrying 47 teenagers and a half-dozen chaperones from the East Coast. Initial reports from different law enforcement agencies gave conflicting accounts of what states the visitors live in.

Roden said everyone escaped the bus before it went up in flames.

Officers were looking at excessive speed or driver distraction as a possible cause of the crash, he said. Weather didn't appear to be a factor.

The bus was headed eastbound on winding State Route 12 through Red Canyon, a gateway to the national park, when it went off the road around noon.

The injured passengers were taken to Garfield Memorial Hospital, where some were given neck and back braces, said Becki Bronson, a spokeswoman for the Garfield County sheriff's office. Others were given a meal at a nearby Mormon church meeting house.

Sheriff's deputies identified the tour operator as Rein Teen Tours of Wayne, N.J. A woman who answered the phone at Rein Teen Tours said the company would have no comment.