A bus overturned on a toll road outside Dallas Thursday morning trapping a number of people within the wreckage. (KXAS)
DALLAS (KXAS) -- Two people were killed and 41 hurt when a private charter bus overturned along a highway near Dallas Thursday morning.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Lonny Hashell confirmed two people were killed in the crash. 36 injured were transported to area hospitals.
Sixteen patients are in critical condition, according to emergency crews. Many passengers suffered minor injuries. Patients were sent to Baylor Irving Medical Center and Las Colinas Medical Center. Severely injured patients were sent to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dallas County Medical Examiner has been called to the scene.
Injured passengers who were able to walk were loaded on a DART bus for transport to Baylor Irving hospital. Baylor staff is calling in extra staff to help deal with the injuries.
Initial reports said a bus rolled over near Belt Line Road and that as many as 40 passengers were trapped inside. Chopper 5 watched from above as firefighters pulled multiple victims out of the bus.
DPS said the bus was traveling northbound on state Highway 161 when the bus drove onto the right side of the road for an unexplained reason. They hit a rubber attenuator and traveled back across all lanes of the turnpike, on to the grassy median, and then ran up and along the middle concere barrier. The bus flipped over and slid on its side.
DPS also said the highway will be shut down for several house following the investigation. Drivers are enouraged to avoid SH-161 by using SH-114 or SH-183, or I-635.
The bus came down on its right side, the same side as the exit doors, trapping passengers inside. Passengers had to use emergency hatches on the roof and push out the windows on the left side of the bus to climb out, or await rescue by passers by or emergency crews.
Passenger Dan Risik tells NBC 5 the charter bus was headed to Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla. The bus set out from a Walmart parking lot and was heading north to the casino. After the crash, Risik said people were laying on other people, trapping individuals underneath each other.
Risik said many of the passengers are older individuals, including retirees and senior citizens.
Two witnesses told NBC 5 that when they stopped to help, they witnessed "bodies stacked on top of each other...moaning, crying, screaming for help." They were able to remove a few people from the bus. The men also said people were pinned underneath the bus at one point in time.
All lanes of the freeway on turnpike between Belt Line and a tollbooth are shut down.
The charter bus is owned by Cardinal Coach Lines of Mansfield. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, Cardinal Coach Line has not had any accidents, moving violations, or Department of Transportation driver or vehicle out of service orders or violations.
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