NTSB: Tire Puncture Caused August 2008 Texas Bus Crash

October 29, 2009

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board has determined that a tire puncture caused a bus crash in August 2008 that killed 17 members of Houston’s Vietnamese Catholic community.

The finding was adopted by the three-member board after hearing from investigators at a meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

The crash occurred in August 2008 when a charter bus carrying 55 passengers to a retreat in Missouri plunged over a highway bridge in Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas. Of the 17 people who died, 12 were killed at the scene. Passengers aboard the Texas bus were thrown about inside and some were ejected.

The NTSB investigation found that a retreaded tire on the vehicle’s right front axle failed. Federal regulations prohibit retreads from being affixed to the front of buses. However, the NTSB determined that the retreading itself didn’t cause the tire failure.

The board also found that the failure of the bridge’s railing and a lack of seatbelts contributed to the wreck and its casualties. The bus had only one belt, a lap belt for the driver which did not appear to be in use at the time of the accident, according to the NTSB.

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