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Deadly crash happened near treacherous roadway

Published On: Dec 31 2012 12:45:57 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 31 2012 01:45:35 PM CST
Five killed in bus crash in eastern Oregon
PENDLETON, Ore. -

Oregon State Police say the weekend tour bus crash that killed nine people happened near a treacherous eastern Oregon section of road known as Deadman Pass.

Lt. Greg Hastings says the bus crashed along the west end of the Blue Mountains on Sunday after careening off an icy Interstate 84 and down a steep embankment. More than 20 people were injured.

The crash site is west of Deadman Pass, an area so dangerous the state transportation department published specific warnings for truck drivers. The state advises the area has "some of the most changeable and severe weather conditions in the Northwest" and can lead to slick conditions and poor visibility.

State police said the bus was en route from Las Vegas to Vancouver.

Umatilla County Emergency Manager Jack Remillard says the bus involved in Sunday's fatal accident in eastern Oregon was owned by Mi Joo travel in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A woman who answered the phone at a listing for the company confirmed with The Associated Press that it owned the bus and said it was on a tour of the Western United States. She declined to give her name.

A bus safety website run by the U.S. Department of Transportation says Mi Joo Tour & Travel has six buses, none of which have been involved in any accidents in at least the past two years.

A spokesman for the American Bus Association says buses carry more than 700 million passengers a year in the United States.

Sunday's crash comes more than two months after another chartered tour bus veered off a highway in October in northern Arizona, killing the driver and injuring dozens of passengers who were mostly tourists from Asia and Europe.

Authorities say the driver likely had a medical episode.

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