WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — The National Transportation Safety Board has begun its lengthy investigation into the deadly Pennsylvania Turnpike crash over the weekend that killed five and injured 60.
Early Sunday morning, officials said the Z & D Tour Inc. motor coach bus was not able to get around a turn, went up an embankment and flipped.
Two tractor-trailers then hit the bus before a third hit in what state police called a “chain reaction-type crash.”
One local first responder said the horrific scene looked like one from a movie.
The driver of the bus, 58-year-old Shuang Qing Feng of Flushing, New York, was thrown from the bus and died at the scene. While the bus was on its side, state police said it was struck by a FedEx tractor-trailer. The impact threw two passengers from the bus.
Eileen Aria, 35, of the Bronx, New York, and 9-year-old Jaremy Vazquez of Brooklyn, New York, were also pronounced dead at the scene.
The NTSB will look at three factors — “man, machine and the environment” — in hopes of improving safety nationwide.
NTSB Board Member Jennifer Homendy said it is not known if the bus driver was speeding, but they know the driver of the bus lost control.
“We had one crash with two separate events,” Homendy said.
NTSB investigators said there were no seat belts on the bus.
Homendy said a tragedy like this highlights the importance of taking every precaution.
“When you see accident after accident where a death or serious injury could have been prevented by a seat belt, lap-shoulder belt in particular, she said.
The NTSB said they will have a preliminary report in 10 days, but their investigation will not be completed for another 18-24 months.