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At least 5 killed, dozens injured in Pennsylvania Turnpike crash involving bus, trucks

A tour bus was traveling from New Jersey to Cincinnati when it failed to complete a turn and created a "chain-reaction type crash."
Image: Emergency crews respond to a fatal crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township on Jan. 5, 2020.
Emergency crews respond to a fatal crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.WPXI-TV / via AP

At least five people were killed and dozens more were injured in a crash in Pennsylvania early Sunday involving a tour bus, three tractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Stephen Limani confirmed that about 60 patients were transported to three hospitals after the multi-vehicle crash at about 3:40 a.m. A passenger bus operated by Z & D Tour was traveling from Rockaway, New Jersey, to Cincinnati when it failed to complete a turn.

"That bus went up an embankment, rolled over and then was subsequently hit by two tractor-trailers," Limani said. "Another tractor-trailer came and collided with those two-tractor trailers."

Another passenger vehicle also hit the wreckage in what Limani described as a "chain-reaction type crash."

At least five deaths had been confirmed, he said, adding that most of the wounded had non-life-threatening injuries but that at least two were in critical condition. Somerset Hospital said it treated and released 18 patients.

The majority of the tour bus passengers appeared to be foreign travelers who did not speak English, Limani said. He did not know the travelers' countries of origin but said most of them spoke Japanese or Spanish.

They did not have access to their passports and luggage because of the severity of the wreck and how the vehicles were entangled, making identification difficult. Authorities were working with the hospitals and the American Red Cross to provide care and housing.

"We've been working really close with them to make sure we are able to provide all of the necessary things to try and make them feel as best we can considering this horrific event that they had to go through," Limani said.

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The crash happened in Westmoreland County, near Pittsburgh, around mile marker 86, and an 86-mile stretch of the turnpike remained closed in both directions from New Stanton at Exit 75 to Breezewood at Exit 161.

Craig Shuey, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said it was unclear when the road would be reopened.

"It's a very extensive crash, so a lot of work has to be done in order to get the roadway reconditioned and ready to handle traffic again," Shuey said.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Sunday that he was saddened to learn of the deaths.

"Keeping victims and their families in my prayers," Wolf said in a tweet. "Efforts by @PAStatePolice and responders prevented further loss of life."