updated 8/29/2006 1:04:58 PM ET 2006-08-29T17:04:58

Workers removed a fifth body Tuesday from the wreckage of a Greyhound bus that crashed through a guard rail and landed upside down in an embankment after apparently blowing a tire, officials said.

The bus was carrying 52 passengers was passing a tractor-trailer when it crashed Monday evening, said State Police Major Richard C. Smith Jr.

“There was an eyewitness who was northbound who heard a noise and looked over, and it appeared to him that one of the tires had failed on the front end of the bus,” Smith said.

The crash killed the 52-year-old driver, Ronald Burgess of Central Islip, N.Y.; 81-year-old Antonide Dorce of Hempstead, N.Y.; and three Canadians, one of them 16-year-old Tambadou Souleymane of Montreal, authorities said.

Twenty-one passengers remained hospitalized Tuesday, at least one in critical condition.

The bus had left New York shortly after noon Monday headed for Montreal. It crashed about 110 miles north of Albany.

Rob Kaplan of Long Island, a second-year student at Concordia University in Montreal, was on his way back to school when the bus crashed.

“I was asleep when the bus started skidding for no reason. It was the most terrible thing I’ve ever experienced,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., his right eye swollen shut and a cut above the eyebrow.

“We flipped over like four times and I was knocked out,” he said. “People had terrible injuries. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not really OK. Look at me. I’m in terrible pain, everything hurts. I don’t understand why it went off the road.”

The highway linking New York City and Montreal reopened Tuesday morning, troopers said.

Greyhound spokeswoman Anna Folmnsbee said the bus had just passed its annual federal inspection last week.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said the agency was monitoring the incident but had not yet decided whether to launch an investigation. The Federal Motor Carrier Agency also was notified about the accident and expected to investigate, officials said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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