Bus Leaving Hoover Dam Catches Fire with Dozens of Tourists Aboard

Bus Leaving Hoover Dam Catches Fire with Dozens of Tourists AboardA tour bus carrying several international travelers suddenly burst into flames on Monday, March 6, as it was leaving the Hoover Dam Visitor Center near the border of Arizona and Nevada, The Associated Press reports.

Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Boulder City, told the media outlet that the driver, a tour guide and all 59 passengers on the bus were able to flee the vehicle before it was completely engulfed in flames. No injuries were reported in the accident.

According to the news source, the bus left the parking lot on the Nevada side of the Hoover Dam when the driver said she smelled smoke, prompting her to look for flames. At about 4 p.m., the driver used a fire extinguisher to keep the flames from spreading, but quickly told the passengers that everyone would need to evacuate.

“It engulfed the bus fairly quickly,” she said.

The accident, which is still under investigation as a cause has not been determined, caused traffic jams all around the dam, but Davis stated it would resume operations on Tuesday. The accident occurred on a mountain road near U.S. 93 and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the largest road to connect southern Nevada and Arizona. The fire did not affect traffic on the bridge, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson told the news source.

Davis stated that a tow truck was called in to remove the charred bus from the road, while the tour company, Bravo Express, sent a new bus to carry the passengers to their destination within hours of the initial accident.

Reports do not show which country the tourists were visiting from, and the California-based tour company declined to comment to the AP on the matter.

Investigators are studying the scene and the vehicle in order to determine the cause of the fire. Hixson stated that most of the time, vehicle fires that start and burn out so quickly can be traced back to an engine problem, which may have been exacerbated by the region’s dry, mountainous weather.

“These are pretty steep roads out here and you need to have your car in shape,” Davis said.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 12,382 truck and bus crashes in 2010, accounting for 6.13 percent of the total number of car accidents throughout the state.