Bus crash leaves 14 injured

  • 2008-01-09
  • Staff and wire reports
RIGA - A bus with 30 Latvian tourists swerved off the road in northern Lithuania on Jan. 2, leaving 14 passengers with minor injuries.
The tour bus was on a return trip from Prague when it crashed on the ninth kilometer of the Panevezys-Riga highway, a Lithuanian National Television news portal said.
The injured passengers, none of whom required serious medical attention, were released from Panevezys hospital on Jan. 2 after receiving treatment for cuts and bruises. They returned to Riga on another bus later that day.

Two of the injured passengers were minors, aged 16 and 17.
Passenger Girts Mucenieks said that the bus driver began to feel sick, started coughing and collapsed on the steering wheel. The bus then drifted across the road and rolled over into a ditch on the other side of the road.
Mucenieks said that the passengers were able to grab on to various objects to secure themselves before the bus rolled over.

The bus driver experienced minor injuries and was taken to the Center for Addictive Disorders to check his blood-alcohol content, where it was established that he hadn't been drinking.
The tour bus was operated by the Riga-based Impro Travels. A representative of Impro told the LTV news portal that the company would ensure the passengers received monetary compensation for their injuries and any delays experienced from the crash.

Impro said the first passengers to receive compensation will be those that required medical assistance, and the travel agency would have to refer to its insurance agreement to see what kind of compensation could be given to the passengers who only experienced delays.
Police have opened a pre-trial investigation to determine the circumstances which caused the driver to fall asleep at the wheel.

Latvia's Foreign Ministry has requested an official report on the accident.