Ian Barrett  /  AP
The wreckage of a Greyhound bus lies on the side of a highway in Westport, N.Y., early Tuesday morning.
updated 8/29/2006 7:39:25 PM ET 2006-08-29T23:39:25

Nineteen people remained hospitalized Tuesday after a Greyhound bus tumbled off an Adirondacks highway after apparently blowing a tire, officials said. The bus driver and four passengers were killed.

Dazed passengers said they remembered a loud sound from the tires and then a cartwheeling motion as the bus flipped and landed on its roof Monday evening.

“The driver tried to keep us on the street,” said Christian Yopa, 28, of Germany, who was going to visit his mother in Montreal. “But a few seconds later, boom, it was too late. I thought of death for the first time. The bus turned two or three times.”

Several of the 53 passengers were thrown out of the bus, which had a seat belt only for the driver. The passengers sustained injuries that included cuts and broken bones.

One person was in critical condition Tuesday, and at least five others were in serious condition, hospital officials said.

“I’m frankly amazed more people were not more seriously injured,” said Mike Hildebran, spokesman for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, which treated 37 passengers and admitted seven as patients.

State Police Major Richard C. Smith Jr. said a witness indicated that a front tire appeared to have blown, causing the crash.

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

The crash killed the driver, Ronald Burgess, 52, of Central Islip, N.Y.; 81-year-old Antonide Dorce of Hempstead, N.Y.; and three Canadians: Souleymane Tambadou, 16; Doreen George, 69; and Hamidou Barry, 34, all of Montreal, authorities said.

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

Burgess had driven for Greyhound since 1999 and, like all Greyhound drivers, completed a seven-week training course that included driving in adverse and crisis conditions, said Folmnsbee. She declined to release specifics about Burgess’ driving record, citing confidentiality rules.

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.

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