GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) - The death toll from Thursday's crash involving a Greyhound bus and a semi truck has risen to eight, and dozens of people remain hospitalized
I-40 westbound was reopened Friday afternoon as the State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit and the NTSB remain on scene investigating.
Police say it was a blowout tire that caused a truck driver to swerve across I-40 and hit a Greyhound bus head-on.
UNM Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in the state, received the most critical patients.
They initially received 12 patients, one of which died shortly after arriving Thursday afternoon.
The crash happened around 12:30 Thursday afternoon between Grants and Gallup, near Thoreau.
"It was horrible there was people trying to climb out of the windows of the bus... bystanders trying to help people getting ladders out of their truck to get to windows of Greyhound bus to assist," witness Marc Gonzales said. "When we went by the overturned semi, everything in the trailer was out on the road. It was a disaster...you could tell people were in distress, screams were coming from the bus."
The witness says people were screaming as rescuers tried to get them out.
They say they saw bystanders shading children with blankets after they were finally rescued.
Only six of the 48 on board were not transported to a hospital.
Investigators have not released any more information about those killed but we know those injured included both adults and children.
The Greyhound bus was headed from St. Louis to Los Angeles. It was running a couple of hours late Thursday morning when it left Albuquerque at 10:30 a.m.
The accident threw debris all over the road, causing I-40 westbound to completely shut down for hours.
McKinley County Emergency Management has established the following number for family members of passengers looking for information on their relatives: 505-722-2002
This is not the first deadly bus vs semi crash in New Mexico. In July, the driver of a passenger bus tried to avoid a crash along I-25 near Bernalillo, but lost control and rolled. It then was plowed by a semi. Three passengers were killed in that crash.
“By far one of the worse accidents I’ve encountered. There was people trying to climb out of the windows of the bus. “ —witness #breakingnews State police say multiple people have died in a bus crash in I-40 near Thoreau. @KRQEAllison @MarissaKRQE will have the latest on @krqe pic.twitter.com/SrDCaNzDCe— Jessica Garate (@krqegarate) August 30, 2018
McKinley County Emergency Management has established the following number for family members of passengers looking for information on their relatives: 505-722-2002— NMSP (@NMStatePolice) August 30, 2018