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Americanos Bus Accident

An Americanos Bus carrying families and spring breakers toward Mexico went off a Texas highway and flipped onto its side Tuesday.  The accident was tragic, killing two people and causing serious injuries to some of the 40 other occupants of the Bus. It is now understood that the Americanos USA Bus departed San Antonio, Texas with 42 individuals on board and was headed to the Mexican Border City of Matamoros, with a planned stop in Falfurrias, Texas. Approximately 45 miles from San Antonio, the bus driver has stated that a loud noise could be heard seconds before the bus veered from the right lane of Interstate 37 as it headed south. The bus lost control and spun toward the grassy median and landed on its right side.
The bus windows were shattered, and luggage, pillows and purses littered the median. It had rained overnight and early Tuesday, but investigators were unsure if weather factored into the accident, Texas DPS Trooper Jason Reyes said. Reyes said there was no initial indication the driver, 47-year-old Irma Morado, was impaired. Garris said Morado helped remove passengers from the bus. She has not been charged. Investigators suspect equipment failure may have caused the crash, Vinger said. Authorities on the scene said the tires on bus appeared intact.

The National Transportation Safety Board is not planning to investigate because its initial assessment turned up no new potential safety issues involving the company or crash, agency spokesman Keith Holloway said. The NTSB for the same reason is not investigating a March 5 bus crash near Phoenix that left six passengers dead, Holloway said. The NTSB has long advocated that motor coaches include seat belts and other occupational safety devices, but the recommendations have yet to be turned into law, in part because of strong lobbying by bus companies.

Americanos USA, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc. Before Tuesday, Americanos Buses were involved in 10 accidents in three states in the last 30 months, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records. Tuesday's crash was the company's fifth involving injuries and second involving fatalities. One person died in a January 2009 crash in San Diego involving one of its vehicles. The company's driver was not cited. With 137 motor coaches in service, Americanos has been involved in one accident for every 13 buses. By comparison, Greyhound has been involved in one accident for every eight buses. In the last two years, inspectors placed Americanos USA vehicles out of service following 11.2 percent of their inspections, about half the national average of 22.3 percent. Inspectors placed the company's drivers out of service after only 1.8 percent of inspections, a far lower rate than the national average of 6.6 percent.
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