11-year-old girl ID'd as Oregon bus crash victim
Published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 8:07PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 2, 2013 9:41PM PST
An 11-year-old girl from South Korea has been identified as one of the victims of a horrific bus crash in Oregon that left nine people dead and dozens injured Sunday.
Oregon State Police confirmed Wednesday that Youmin Kim was killed when the Vancouver-bound charter bus she was aboard veered off the road, smashed through a guardrail, and plunged 60 metres down an embankment.
Kim was staying with family in B.C. while visiting from South Korea, police said.
Yongho Lee, 75, of Lynwood, Wash., and Dale Osborn, 57, of Spanaway, Wash., have also been identified among those killed.
Some of the survivors continued their journey to Vancouver Wednesday, though a number of them won’t be setting foot on another bus any time soon.
To provide an alternative method of transporting survivors home, the owner of an Oregon Ford dealership has offered up four SUVs and drivers free of charge.
Meanwhile, the tragedy is prompting questions about safety measures on tour buses in Canada.
“It’s definitely a conversation that’s worth having,” said Catherine Benesch, a spokesperson for the Canada Safety Council. “It’s worth reevaluating the structure, the design of the vehicles, and looking for the best safety outcome.”
Seatbelts in tour buses would not necessarily improve safety in some cases, she adds, and in some cases they might do more harm than good.
Better safe than sorry, said Sheldon Eggan, president of Charter Bus Lines. Eggan has installed three-point seat harnesses on every bus the company has built since 2011.
“It’s safer in all circumstances and all configurations. The three-point is the safest there is.”
Eggan also maintains buses are one of the safest ways to travel, with less than one per cent of annual motor vehicle deaths occurring from bus crashes.
“You can imagine the chaos if they said buses aren’t safe anymore,” he said. “That’s not the case. They’re inherently safe. You just get another layer of safety.”
The United States National Transportation Safety Board is pushing to have all new buses built with shoulder harnesses for 2014, but Transport Canada is still studying the issue.
“Part of the problem is there’s no standard from Transport Canada,” says Benesch. “Do they put in two-point belts? Do they put in three-point belts? That’s something that needs to be determined and there needs to be more conversation on, and research to back up.”
Oregon police say some of the crash victims were ejected from the bus, while others were pinned inside the vehicle and had to await rescue.
Oregon authorities continue to work with the B.C. RCMP and Korean consular officials in the U.S. to reach other passengers' families and identify victims.
The tour bus was owned by a Vancouver-area company called Mi Joo Tour & Travel.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward