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Girl, 9, among victims killed in Pennsylvania Turnpike crash

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the crash that happened early Sunday on a mountainous and rural stretch of the highway about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh.

GREENSBURG, Pa. — A 9-year-old New York girl was among the five people killed in a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that also injured at least 60 people, authorities said Monday.

The crash occurred Sunday on a mountainous and rural stretch of the highway about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh.

An official with the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that the tour bus traveling passed a truck on the turnpike shortly before losing control and causing the chain-reaction wreck.

The bus lost control, struck a concrete median and went up an embankment before rolling on its side, NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said at a news conference. The damage from the crash, which happened about 3:30 a.m., was extensive, she said. "I thought it was devastating," she said.

A FedEx truck could not stop and hit the bus, and a UPS truck also struck the bus around 3:30 a.m., she said. A second UPS truck and a Mercedes were also involved in the crash.

The crash shut down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is also Interstate 76, for a 90-mile stretch for most of the day Sunday.

All five victims have been identified by police. Three were from New York City: the 58-year-old bus driver, Shuang Qing Feng, of Queens, and two passengers, Eileen Zelis Aria, 35, of the Bronx, and 9-year-old Jaremy Vazquez, of Brooklyn, according to the Westmoreland County coroner's office.

Two UPS drivers, Daniel Kepner, 53, and Dennis Kehler, 48, were also killed. They were driving together in a tractor-trailer out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

At least 60 people were transported to hospitals with a range of injuries. Authorities said Sunday all of the patients were expected to survive.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, and Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Stephen Limani said it could take weeks or months to determine.

Homendy said Monday that it was unknown if the bus was speeding. The NTSB expects to release a preliminary report on the crash in around 10 days, and a final report will come out in 18 to 24 months, Homendy said.

The bus had 56 passengers and the driver on board, she said. The driver and two passengers were ejected, state police said.

The bus was headed from Flushing, New York, to New Stanton, Pennsylvania where there would have been a crew swap, but the crash happened around 10 miles before that, she said. The route goes to Cincinnati and then Louisville, Kentucky, before returning to Flushing.

The bus underwent its last inspection Dec. 17, and "no issues were identified," Homendy said.

The operator's last "motor carrier compliance review" was in November 2018, those are required every three years, and there were no violations and the operator has a satisfactory rating with federal authorities, she said.

CORRECTION (Jan. 6, 2020, 11:02 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the gender of the 9-year-old victim. She was a girl, not a boy.