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HIghway 41 closed north of Lewis Creek - photo by Bobby George Moreno

Bus Crash Closes Highway 41 North Of Oakhurst

FISH CAMP — CHP is on scene of an accident involving a bus on Highway 41 just north of the 4,000 foot level between Lewis Creek and Sugar Pine (Road 630) north of Oakhurst.

At 5:40 p.m. reports came in that a 25-passenger charter bus had hit a tree and then the embankment, with several occupants of the bus in need of medical aid.

According to CHP Sgt. Michael Schwab in an interview with ABC30, there were 22 people on the bus including the driver; all were 12- to 15-year-old Chinese students, plus their chaperones, headed to Oakhurst after a day in Yosemite.

The bus was southbound when, for unknown reasons, it drifted off the right side of the road and struck a large pine tree.

Madera County Fire, Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service engines were all dispatched to the incident for medical assistance, traffic control, and also any threat to the wildlands of possible fire, though none has been reported.

Highway 41 was closed in both directions to allow first responders to tend to all the injured and investigate the scene.

A SkyLife air ambulance was dispatched and landed at Batterson Work Station north of Oakhurst.

Two passengers have been reported as having suffered major injuries characterized as head trauma, and were airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center. The situation was complicated by a language barrier, as all passengers speak only Chinese.

Five patients have been transported to CRMC, and seven to Valley Children’s Hospital, with minor to moderate injuries. The ten uninjured passengers were taken to their hotel in Oakhurst.

The road remains closed at this time as the accident is investigated.

The bus reportedly belongs to Top Line Charter.

**UPDATE 9:35 P.M. Roadway has been reopened in both directions.**

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