One person was killed and two others critically injured when a tour bus heading to the Grand Canyon overturned in north-western Arizona, authorities said.
A spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of the incident on Friday afternoon was not yet known, but a fire official who responded said speed appeared to be a factor. No other vehicles were involved.
“It was a heavily damaged bus. He slid down the road quite a ways, so there was a lot of wreckage,” said Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District Chief Tim Bonney. “Just to put it in perspective, on a scale of zero to 10, an eight.”
None of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle but they were all in shock, Mr Bonney added.
“A lot of them were saying the bus driver was driving at a high rate of speed,” he said.
A photo from the sheriff’s office showed the bus on its side on a road that curves through Joshua trees with no snow or rain in the remote area.
There were 48 people on the Las Vegas-based tour bus, including the driver, authorities said.
After the crash, 44 people were taken to Kingman Regional Medical Centre, including two by medical helicopter, spokeswoman Teri Williams said. All the others were treated for minor injuries, she said.
Two people were critically injured, said Mohave County sheriff’s spokeswoman Anita Mortensen.
The bus was heading to Grand Canyon West, about two-and-a-half hours from Las Vegas and outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park.
The tourist destination is on the Hualapai reservation and is best known for the Skywalk, a glass bridge that juts out 70ft (21m) from the canyon walls and gives visitors a view of the Colorado River 4,000ft (1,219m) below.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, about one million people a year visited Grand Canyon West, mostly through tours booked out of Las Vegas. The Hualapai reservation includes 108 miles (174km) of the Grand Canyon’s western rim.
In addition to the Skywalk, the tribe has helicopter tours on its land, horseback rides, a historic guano mine and a one-day whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River. Rafters who are on trips through the Grand Canyon can also get on and off the river on the reservation.
In a statement issued late on Friday, the Hualapai Tribe and its businesses said they were saddened by the crash and that safety is the highest priority for guests, employees and vendors.
“As a people, our hearts go out to those so deeply affected,” the statement read. “We wish speedy recoveries to those requiring medical attention.”
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said he did not immediately have further details about the incident. The agency does not send investigators to all bus crashes.
There have been other fatal crashes in the area.
Four Chinese nationals died in 2016 when their van collided with a Dallas Cowboys staff bus heading to a pre-season promotional stop in Las Vegas.
In 2009, a tour bus carrying Chinese nationals overturned on US 93 near the Hoover Dam, killing several people and injuring others. The group were returning from a Grand Canyon trip.
Federal investigators cited driver inattention as the probable cause of that crash. The bus driver was attempting to fix a problem with airflow through his door before the crash and became distracted, then veered off the road and overcorrected before crossing a median and overturning. Most of the passengers were thrown out.
A tour bus heading to the Grand Canyon rolled over in north western Arizona, killing one person and critically injuring two others.
Authorities said 44 of the 48 people on the bus were taken to Kingman Regional Medical Centre after the incident on Friday at around noon.
A sheriff’s spokeswoman said the cause of the crash was not yet known, but a fire official who responded to the call said passengers reported the driver was going too fast and lost control on the road.
Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District Chief Tim Bonney said: “It was a heavily damaged bus, he slid down the road quite a ways, so there was a lot of wreckage.
“A lot of them (the passengers) were saying the bus driver was driving at a high rate of speed.”