Fatalities reported in Minnesota tour bus crash

AP News
Posted: Nov 18, 2009 6:07 PM

Fatalities were reported after a tour bus ran off a southern Minnesota interstate and rolled over in a ditch Wednesday, but a state official said the number of people killed was not immediately known.

The bus, operated by Strain Bus Line Motorcoach Tours in Rochester, was eastbound on Interstate 90 west of Austin about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday when it crossed into westbound lines then crashed, said Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jackie Sticha.

"There are some fatalities," Department of Public Safety spokesman Andy Skoogman said while en route to the scene. He said about two dozen people were thought to be injured, but information still was being gathered.

Strain Bus Line operates a bus every Wednesday from Rochester to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa, charging $15 a seat, according to its Web site. An employee who answered the phone at Strain would not give her name, but said the owner was on his way to the scene.

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Northwood is about 30 miles southwest of Austin. The accident happened about 2 miles west of the city. The patrol said the road was clear and dry.