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Troopers: Investigation continues in collision of semi truck and tour bus

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Ten passengers on a Princess tour bus suffered minor injuries when it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on the Parks Highway Monday afternoon, authorities said Tuesday.

One Princess guest had to be flown by a LifeMed Alaska helicopter to the hospital, a company spokesman said. Both drivers were also hurt; the semitrailer's driver was also medevacked.

An investigation continues into the crash, Alaska State Troopers say. No charges or citations had been filed as of midday Tuesday.

The bus was headed from Mount McKinley Lodge north of Trapper Creek to Denali National Park and Preserve with about 44 passengers.

The crash, which shut down the highway for about three hours Monday, also injured the driver of the Lynden Transport tractor-trailer, identified by troopers as 39-year-old Jason Avila of Wasilla. Avila was taken by helicopter to a hospital for treatment of injuries described as not life-threatening.

A Lynden representative did not immediately return a call for comment.

The driver of the tour bus was 21-year-old John Snyder of Trapper Creek, troopers said. Snyder was treated and released for his injuries at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, Princess spokesman Bruce Bustamante said.

Ten lodge guests on the bus were taken by ambulances to the hospital, and were also treated and released, Bustamante and troopers said. The injured guest who required a medevac has also been released from the hospital, Bustamante said. He didn't have additional information on the nature of the guest's injuries.

Princess sent a bus to transport the unhurt guests away from the accident scene, he said.

Troopers started getting reports of the crash at 2:52 p.m. Monday, according to an online news release.

The bus was northbound on the Parks when it stopped at an Alaska Railroad crossing and the semi rear-ended it, troopers said. The truck was pulling a cargo trailer filled with batteries, but none were breached in the crash.

An estimated 200 to 300 gallons of fuel spilled onto the highway and roadside, as well as into a nearby creek, troopers said. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation responded.

The highway reopened late Monday at around 10:15 p.m. Troopers said traffic was backed up for several miles.