October 6, 2012
Eight critical in Toronto tour bus crash
By TOM GODFREY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Members of an Adventist church convention in New York City are praying for their brethren from Toronto, eight of whom are in critical condition in a U.S. hospital after their chartered bus flipped at a New Jersey highway off-ramp.
"We are so saddened and disappointed," Maureen Isaac, secretary of the Grenada New York Adventist Organization, told QMI Agency on Saturday. "Two buses of people were coming from Toronto, but they never arrived."
The bus, hired from Max 2000 Charter Services Inc., was carrying 57 passengers, of whom 19 suffered some sort of injury. Witnesses said the bus flipped onto its side and slid down an embankment at an Interstate 80 exit ramp in Wayne, N.J., about 25 km northwest of New York City.
Eight passengers remained in critical condition at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center late Saturday, officials said.
Isaac said organizers were expecting more than 100 Adventists from three Toronto churches including the Toronto Central Adventist Church and the Grenada Toronto Community Network (GTCN).
The buses left Toronto heading for Saturday's 2012 Grenada New York Adventist Organization convention at Wingate High School in Brooklyn.
"Many of those coming down have relatives or siblings here," she said. "We will be praying for their speedy recovery."
She said about 700 Adventists from around the world attend the annual one-day convention. Most stay for the long weekend and return to Canada on Monday.
Sgt. Jeff Long, of the New Jersey State Police, told a local paper that the bus driver said he was cut off by another vehicle. The driver suffered a gash to his arm.
The crash caused some of the bus windows to smash, and three people were pinned by window frames before being freed, police said.
"It was so sudden," said passenger and GTCN member Deanne Joseph. "I was sitting on the fifth row on the left side when it went around the corner and just lost control."
GTCN member Layne Chitan said the convention brings together his countrymen.
"Every year we come together as Grenadians to help our country," Chitan said. "It's so unfortunate that we're coming to serve our people and this is what happens."
Canadians concerned their relatives may have been in the crash can call the Foreign Affairs department at 1-800-387-3124 or e-mail email@example.com.