Evidence' Of Pre-Collision Fire In Deadly California Crash: NTSB
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[April 14, 2014]
By Curtis Skinner
(Reuters) — An investigation into the
northern California crash between a FedEx truck and bus that killed 10
people last week has turned up "no evidence" of a pre-collision fire,
contrary to a witness report, authorities said on Sunday.
A witness in a car the truck clipped before crashing into the bus
reported flames shooting from underneath the truck's cab before the
fatal collision. Further investigation found no evidence of that,
said Mark Rosekind, a National Transportation Safety Board member.
"There is no evidence of pre-impact fire located at the accident
scene, on the median or on the highway," Rosekind told a news
conference. "This is all preliminary, factual information. Nothing
is ruled out yet."
Among the dead were the drivers of the truck and the bus, and five
teenage students and a college recruiter going to an event at
Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, as part of a
program to help disadvantaged college hopefuls.
More than 30 others were injured in the crash Thursday evening on
Interstate 5 about 90 miles north of Sacramento. The students were
from the Los Angeles area.
At least one of the injured, a female patient, was listed in
critical condition Sunday at the UC Davis Medial Center where
another patient had died earlier, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Rosekind said the truck left a southbound lane, crossed a 58-foot
(18-meter) median into a northbound lane, hit a Nissan Altima and
then struck the bus which was behind the car. There were no barriers
in the median, he said.
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Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones had said previously that a powerful
explosion unleashed by the impact was so loud it was heard
throughout the nearby community of Orland.
The fire consumed the truck and the bus and was so intense that it
could be days or weeks before some of the bodies can be identified,
and investigators will have to rely on dental records or in some
cases DNA testing, the NTSB has said.
Rosekind said the NTSB planned to release a preliminary report on
the crash in 30 days.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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