Motorcoach Run-Off-The-Bridge and Rollover
August 8, 2008
NTSB Number: HAR-09/02
NTIS Number: PB2009-916202
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About 12:45 a.m., central daylight time, on Friday, August 8, 2008, a 2002 56‑passenger Motor Coach Industries, Inc., motorcoach, operated by Iguala BusMex, Inc., was northbound on U.S. Highway 75 when it was involved in a single-vehicle, multiple-fatality accident in Sherman, Texas. The chartered motorcoach had departed the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on August 7, 2008, with a driver and 55 passengers onboard, en route to the Marian Days Festival in Carthage, Missouri. When the accident occurred, the motorcoach had completed about 309 miles of the approximately 600-mile-long trip.
Before the crash, the motorcoach was traveling in the right lane of the four-lane divided highway. As the motorcoach approached the Post Oak Creek bridge at a speed of about 68 mph, its right steer axle tire failed. The motorcoach departed the roadway on an angle of about 4 degrees to the right, overrode a 7-inch-high, 18-inch-wide concrete curb, and struck the metal bridge railing. After riding against the bridge railing for about 120 feet and displacing approximately 136 feet of railing, the motorcoach went through the bridge railing and off the bridge. It fell about 8 feet and slid approximately 24 feet on its right side before coming to rest on the inclined earthen bridge abutment adjacent to Post Oak Creek. As a result of the accident, 17 motorcoach passengers died; 12 passengers were found to be dead at the crash site, and 5 others later died at area hospitals. In addition, the 52-year-old driver received serious injuries, and 38 passengers received minor-to-serious injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the right steer axle tire, due to an extended period of low‑pressure operation, which resulted in sidewall, belting, and body ply separation within the tire, leading to loss of vehicle control. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the failure of the bridge railing to redirect the motorcoach and prevent it from departing the bridge. The lack of an adequate occupant protection system contributed to the severity of the passenger injuries.
The following safety issues are identified in this report:
As a result of the investigation, the NTSB makes recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and Motor Coach Industries, Inc. The NTSB also reiterates previous recommendations to the FMCSA and NHTSA.