NTSB Investigating Deadly Tour Bus Crash Near Bryce Canyon
RICHFIELD, Utah – The National Transportation Safety Board began their investigation into the deadly tour bus crash carrying Chinese tourists in Bryce Canyon where four people were killed.
On Sunday, five people remained in critical condition.
In the initial briefing by the lead investigator for the crash, it was revealed the driver of the bus had only recently been hired and was on his first trip when the crash occurred.
“We look at a crash basically in three phases; the pre-crash condition, the crash condition, and the post-crash condition,” said Pete Kotowski, lead investigator for the NTSB.
The 10-member team is beginning the process of piecing together just what went wrong Friday.
In Sunday’s briefing they detailed the painstakingly precise method in which they work.
“Today our highway group examined the accident site, the roadway itself and we began documenting the roadway including the collision marks on the roadway,” Kotowski said.
They’ll also look at signage in the area, slope, and any environmental factors.
The NTSB confirms the tour bus was a 2017 “freightliner” midsize bus equipped to carry 37 passengers including the driver.
“So far, the carrier has been operating very freely with us and providing information and meeting our requests as asked,” he said.
The bus did have seat belts, though it’s still unclear how many passengers actually had them on.
The Utah Highway Patrol confirmed they had obtained a blood sample from the male driver.
“That driver has been released and has returned to his home in California and that’s why we have one of our investigators there now.”
The NTSB also said Sunday they will continue to work with the Chinese Consulate to ensure all passengers are properly cared for and interviewed before they return to China.
The preliminary investigation will be competed in the next couple of weeks, however a final report likely won’t be completed for 12 to 24 months.
“We have a very thorough but lengthy process,” Kotowski said.