NORTH HUDSON — A teenager is dead and 55 passengers were taken to area hospitals with injuries after a tour bus veered off the shoulder on Interstate 87 and onto the median on Friday morning.
New York State Police Major Richard Smith III confirmed the fatality at a press conference shortly after 1 p.m.
The deceased has been identified by state police as 14-year-old Chelssy Mercier of Quebec.
Smith said Mercier was partially ejected from the vehicle, which then came to rest on her. After responders used jacks to lift the bus, resuscitation efforts by passerby and state police were unsuccessful.
The 2008 Prevost passenger coach carrying Canadian tourists was traveling south on I-87 from Charney, Quebec to New York City when it veered off the shoulder of the highway.
Essex County's Department of Emergency Services received multiple reports starting at 7:46 a.m. of an accident near mile marker 95 and Exit 29.
Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said at least six calls came in at quick succession.
“It was one right after another,” he said.
Ten emergency service squads and three fire departments responded.
“There were multiple individuals outside of the bus,” said Smith.
All passengers, reportedly between the ages of 6 and 54, were removed from the windshield and top hatch of the bus.
Smith said he believed all occupants were Canadian nationals containing multiple generations of family members. The exact seatbelt situation remained unclear.
‘MASS CASUALITY INCIDENT’
On the scene, the bus lay on its side. Ahead, the triple lines of iron guide wire were splintered and plastic strewn across the southbound lane.
All 55 passengers, as well as the driver, were taken to three area hospitals.
Essex County Emergency Services Coordinator Patty Bashaw referred to it as a mass casualty incident.
All were transported, some with a bus from Westport Central School, for safety reasons.