Toronto bus flips on New Jersey highway, injuring 23

A bus loaded with 57 passengers and chartered out of Toronto overturned on a New Jersey highway exit ramp Saturday morning, injuring at least 23 people, CBC News has confirmed.

Coach hired by members of church group loaded with nearly 60 passengers

A Toronto coach bus headed to Brooklyn flipped in New Jersey Saturday, injuring 23 people, officials say 3:08

A bus loaded with 57 passengers, and chartered out of Toronto, overturned on a New Jersey highway exit ramp Saturday morning, injuring at least 23 people, CBC News has confirmed.

The tour bus was enroute to Brooklyn when the crash occurred around 7:45 a.m. local time on Interstate 80 in Wayne, New Jersey. The vehicle slid down an embankment, eventually landing on its side. Several people had to be freed from the wreckage.

"Some windows exploded during the collision and it pinned three people underneath," CBC's Asha Tomlinson reported. "Those people have to be rescued by the use of emergency specialized air bags to get them out."

A spokesperson with St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., tells CBC News that of the eight people who were in critical condition yesterday, five have been treated and released. Three remain under care in fair condition. Four others who were sent to the hospital in Wayne have all been treated and released.

None of their injuries were considered to be life-threatening.

All of the passengers were Canadian, according to Sgt. Adam Grossman, with New Jersey state police.

One passenger told The Associated Press that she didn't realize what was happening at first.

'I just hear the glass cracking'

"I just hear the glass cracking, cracking and then I look, I saw, I saw, my god, what is this? You know and I was laying on the floor," said the woman, who was not named.

Another female passenger had been sleeping when the collision occurred.

"I had just gotten up from sleeping and so, you know, felt the commotion and then all of a sudden, you knew the bus had turned over," she said.

The driver of the bus, which was hired by members of a Seventh Day Adventists church group, blamed the accident on another motorist, telling state police he was cut off in traffic. The coach bus was registered in Ontario and was from the Toronto-based AVM Max 2000 Charter Services Inc.

The company has existed for about 20 years and the driver reportedly had a clean record.

The accident occurred at a loop interconnecting several highways that has been nicknamed the "spaghetti bowl." The exit ramp closed for about seven hours, but has since reopened.

The passengers who were unharmed were eventually loaded on to another bus so they could continue their journey to their scheduled event in Brooklyn. They were about 25 kilometres away from their destination, according to reports.

State troopers are still investigating the accident.