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CNN BREAKING NEWS
2 Dead in Greyhound Accident
Aired November 27, 2005 - 14:21 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are interrupting our special CNN 25 presentation to bring you what we are getting here at CNN. Our first look, first pictures now of the scene of a fatal Greyhound bus accident in California, in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County, to be more exact about it.
The accident happened on Highway 101. The Greyhound bus you see here on its side, was carrying 42 passengers. Two people, we understand, were killed in the accident; another 11 were injured. At least seven of the injured were injured seriously.
Captain Keith Cullom with the Santa Barbara Fire Department is on the line with us. Captain, are you there?
CAPT. KEITH CULLOM, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Tony.
HARRIS: OK, Captain, I hear you now. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
When you arrived on the scene, first of all, let's sort of go through some of the nuts and bolts of this. When did you receive information of this bus accident?
CULLOM: We received a report of the accident shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning. Our first engine arrived approximately 7:15. When they arrived -- that's the paramedic engine -- the paramedics were initially able to make an assessment of the scene. And at that time, we had 44 patients, not your count of 42 you are reporting, 44.
HARRIS: Great, thank you.
CULLOM: Forty-four. Two of those were deceased. Four of the major injuries required extrication by hydraulic rescue tools. Firefighters entered the bus through the front windshield. The bus, which is on its side, and also through windows on the top side of the bus, by using ladders to access the side of the bus. And all of the 42 people who were transported were removed and transported within an hour. The two deceased were taken by the county coroner's office from the scene.
HARRIS: Captain, you are detailing quite an elaborate rescue. I have to ask you, any fire on the scene when you arrived?
CULLOM: The actual accident environment itself was rather routine. We had a single bus on its side. The front had impacted a tree. But that impact was not severe. That's just where it came to rest after sliding probably 100 or more yards on its side. So the people inside the bus had been tossed around significantly. The injuries, although there were quite a number -- of the seven major injuries, none of those are considered life-threatening injuries. We had the seven major injuries and four moderate injuries. The balance of the 31 injuries were minor, to walking wounded. They were transported either by a municipal bus that was brought in for the minor injuries, or by ambulance. Two of the most serious injuries were transported by helicopter.
HARRIS: Captain, can you -- were you able to talk to the bus driver?
CULLOM: The bus driver is not deceased. He is one of the injured. He was transported, and he will be interviewed by members of the California Highway Patrol, who are here investigating the incident.
HARRIS: Either from the bus driver or from, as you describe them, some of the walking wounded, were you able to get any idea as to what happened?
CULLOM: There is no indication at this point what actually caused the accident. There was no other vehicle that was apparently involved. It only involved the bus. So that determination is being looked into by the investigators from the California Highway Patrol.
HARRIS: And you mentioned, did the bus actually slide down an embankment and hit a tree, or did it just drift off the side of the road and strike a tree?
CULLOM: No, it did go off of the highway over the side into a low ravine, probably 10 to 15 feet below road, or grade surface. And it did slide for 100 or so yards.
HARRIS: Well, I have to ask you, in the kind of detail that you can at this point, can you describe this scene? We know this is 7:00 or so in the morning on a day when a lot of folks are trying to get back home after the long Thanksgiving day holiday weekend. So at 7:00 a.m. on Highway 101, which we understand to be a major thoroughfare, can you describe what that traffic scene must have been like, with helicopters coming in to airlift the injured?
CULLOM: Well, the northbound lanes were closed. We did have helicopters actually landing on the highway. The northbound lanes remain closed at this time. The bus is still off the road there, and they're trying to bring it up to road level at this point.
Traffic northbound is backed up. I don't know how far in a southerly direction. Northbound is closed, and they're having to divert around the accident.
Southbound lanes are flowing. And that's varied from, you know, light traffic to heavy traffic right now. It's backed up significantly. There have been two collisions southbound by people not paying attention and coming up to slowed traffic. And, you know, it's fairly dangerous out here. Fortunately, we have a concrete dividing wall between the lanes of traffic, because one of those accidents involved an overturning vehicle and the other one hit the wall. So, you know, people just need to be careful, not just here, but everywhere traveling so that we don't have repeats of people going to the hospital.
HARRIS: OK, Captain, just to recap this quickly: 44 passengers on the Greyhound bus, two fatalities, and another 11 or so people injured, at least seven of them seriously injured. Are those the numbers as we know them at the moment?
CULLOM: Yeah, the total number of passengers is 44.
CULLOM: So all the injuries are within those 44 numbers.
HARRIS: Captain Keith Cullom, with the Santa Barbara Fire Department. Captain, thank you for your time.
CULLOM: That's Santa Barbara County Fire Department. It's a Santa Barbara County incident. It's about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara City, just south of the city of Santa Maria.
HARRIS: Captain, thanks for your time. We appreciate (INAUDIBLE).
CULLOM: You're welcome. OK.
HARRIS: And as you continue to look at these pictures, just a reminder, CNN's Kareen Wynter is trying to get us close as she can to the scene to bring us the latest information. But I have to tell you, the reality of the situation is that probably the closest means about oh, maybe a mile or so away, maybe we can get some access on those southbound lanes.
And that's the latest on this situation. A Greyhound bus crashes in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County in California. Two people confirmed dead. A number injured, and some of those injured seriously.
We will be talking to a spokesperson from Greyhound in the 4:00 p.m. Eastern hour to get the very latest on this story from Greyhound's perspective.
Now we want to send you back to our special.
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