Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Flash Flood Carries Away Arizona Tour Bus

APAZTourBus

DOLAN SPRINGS, Ariz. (AP) — Flash flood waters swept a tour bus with 33 people aboard hundreds of yards down a wash in northwestern Arizona and the vehicle flipped on its side, but no one was injured, officials said.

The Las Vegas-bound bus was returning Sunday afternoon from a day-trip to the Grand Canyon's west rim when the driver attempted to cross the wash on a rural road.

The high waters pushed the vehicle down the wash for an estimated 300 yards around 1:50 p.m. near Kingman, said Patrick Moore, chief of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District, which had firefighters at the scene. The crash happened as northern Arizona was hit with a second day of heavy rain.

The area where the bus accident occurred received 0.75 inches of rain in about an hour on Sunday afternoon, said Chris Stumpf, a National Weather Service forecaster in Las Vegas. A flash flood warning was in effect when the accident occurred, he said.

"It was a really strong storm dumping quite a bit of rain ... and it caused flash flooding," Stumpf said. "They were driving on a portion of the road where they shouldn't have tried to drive across. They should not have been driving through there."

Rhonda Ho, operations manager for Canyon Coach Lines, said the bus owned by the Las Vegas-based company was being driven by Joseph Razon, who saw a car right in front of him go through a section of the highway covered by some water.

"He thought, if a car can go through it, I can go through it," Ho said.

"Then he got slammed by a rushing current of water that came out of nowhere," she said. "He was driving in almost neck-deep water and trying to control the bus while it was floating."

She said the driver managed to bring the bus against an embankment so it would stop and passengers could escape. People inside the bus were able to climb out of the driver's side windows and walked to dry land.

"I'm glad the driver kept his cool and everybody got out safely. No one screamed on the bus and everyone kept their cool and that's amazing," Ho said.

She described Razon as a "very professional driver" with a spotless record. He has worked for the company since 2005.

Kingman is near the Arizona-Nevada stateline and about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas. The bus passengers and driver returned on another bus to Las Vegas, where Ho was able to speak to the driver.

On Sunday evening, as a tow truck was preparing to take away the bus, it was lying on its side and had grass and other debris hanging from it. Two escape hatches on its roof were opened. Writing on the side of the bus said: "C.H. Destination" and "DBA: Canyon Coach Lines"

The passengers were no longer at the scene. The company had sent another bus to pick them up.

There were some swift-water rescues of stranded motorists Saturday night after a storm dropped nearly 2 inches of rain in about 90 minutes around Kingman, Stumpf said.

The flash flood warning around the accident scene has expired, he said, but there's a chance for more heavy rain and another similar warning on Monday.

The crash happened as Northern Arizona was hit with a second day of heavy rain.

The Arizona Department of Transportation closed an 18-mile stretch of Interstate-40 Saturday night between Flagstaff and Kingman because of the flash flooding.

___

Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Martin Griffith in Reno, Nev., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



RELATED ARTICLES

Several Injured as Tornadoes Hit Oklahoma, Arkansas

Severe weather strikes Midwest communities.

Several Injured as Tornadoes Hit Oklahoma, Arkansas

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The first batch of severe weather in this year's tornado season has devastated an Oklahoma mobile home park, and storms across ...

Shaughn Maxwell Presents on Disaster Response Implementation at EMS Today 2015

Award-winner and EMS innovator Shaughn Maxwell took audiences through two unique historic disasters in 2014. When a major landslide occurred in Oso, Wash., t...

Video, Photos: Plane Clips Roadway in Taiwan during Takeoff

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A Taiwanese flight carrying 58 people turned on its side in midair, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into a shallow river...

Eight Injured When Albuquerque Bus Crashes House

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A city bus that was struck by a van at an intersection smashed into an Albuquerque home Thursday, sending up to eight people t...

At Least Five Dead in Northeast Crashes

NEW YORK (AP) — Rain "flash-freezing" on roads and sidewalks left an icy glaze under feet and tires across much of the northeast on Sunday, c...

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts