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Charter bus skids on ice, kills 9 in Oregon

By CNN Staff
updated 8:11 AM EST, Mon December 31, 2012
Oregon State Police and emergency responders arrive at the scene of a fatal bus crash east of Pendleton on Sunday.
Oregon State Police and emergency responders arrive at the scene of a fatal bus crash east of Pendleton on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "This is the first time I've ever seen anything like this," Lt. Steven Brost says
  • Charter bus tumbles down an embankment on I-84 in Oregon
  • The driver is among at least 26 injured in the wreck
  • Westbound lanes of the highway near the crash site were closed

(CNN) -- A charter bus in northern Oregon skidded on ice, crashed through a guardrail and tumbled several hundred feet down a steep embankment on Sunday morning, spilling passengers along the way.

"I've been a firefighter for 20 years and this is the first time I've ever seen anything like this," Pendleton, Oregon, fire Lt. Steven Brost told CNN affiliate KPTV. "It appeared that most of the patients had actually been ejected from the bus as the bus went down the cliff."

Aerials from the crash scene

Nine people died in the crash, according to Oregon State police. At least 26 people were transported to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton for treatment. Five of them were later transferred to another hospital.

The driver suffered severe injuries and has not yet spoken to authorities, police said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The crash took place on Interstate 84 east of Pendleton, state police said. Emergency responders, including people trained for rope rescues, helped move victims up the embankment back to the highway.

About 40 people are thought to have been aboard the charter bus, which was returning to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Las Vegas, police said. The bus was operated by Mi Joo Tour & Travel out of Vancouver.

The westbound lanes of I-84 were closed near the crash site during the rescue and recovery effort.

Kindergarten van plunges into pond, killing 11

CNN's Lateef Mungin contributed to this story.

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