NTSB Updates Ark. Motorcoach Accident that Killed 15

February 18, 2005

The National Transportation Safety Board this week released the following update on its investigation of the Oct. 9, 2004 motorcoach accident near Turrell, Arkansas.

The motorcoach, operated by Walter Bus Service Inc., Chicago, Illinois and carrying 29 passengers, was traveling approximately 70 mph on I-55 when it left the roadway, rotated clockwise and overturned 90 degrees on its side. The driver and 14 passengers were killed and an additional 15 passengers were injured.

The motorcoach had previously sustained fire damage from a fire in a garage that involved another bus. The motorcoach was repaired, which included a new skin on the roof. The replacement roof panels were riveted and glued on top of the original roof panels along both sides of the bus. This repair included drilling out the manufacturer’s rivets and then drilling new holes for the replacement rivets for the new “skin.” The new holes were not aligned with the old holes.

An inspection, by the Safety Board, revealed corrosion of several pillars and roof rails along both sides. However, the corrosion was more prominent on the left side.

The Safety Board is still examining the effects of the corrosion on the structural integrity of the motorcoach.

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