Accident leaves bus hanging over I5

Just in from the scanner. Bus with around 50 passengers on board has crashed off Melrose and is hanging about 10 feet over the lanes of I5 below. Accident involves two buses and there are reports of injuries. Heading out now for coverage and pictures.

Update: 12:52pm – It’s actually two big tour buses that made a really poor choice to go down the very steep Thomas towards I-5 and slipped the whole way.  The front tires and door of one bus is hanging over the travel lanes of I-5, but it doesn’t appear to be in danger of falling.   It did a real number on the guardrail and concrete though.

Update: 1:09pm – First pics:

Witness saw 1st bus had hit rail and then saw 2nd race down behind down Thomas


Update 1:15pm: Justin is talking to people at the scene.  The buses were full of kids.  The first bus went down Thomas and slid into the guardrail.  Then the second bus followed the same route and slid “really fast” down the hill, clipped the first bus and pushed it further over the edge, then came to rest beside it.  Parents and other friends and family are at the scene looking for their loved ones, but not able to reach them as they’re all in triage in a nearby apartment building lobby.

Update 1:20pm: The kids were coming back into the city from a Job Corps event, according to parent Frank Tyson. All injured kids are being taken to Harborview for treatment.  Not clear exactly what that number is for now. Family can go there to find them. 

Update: 1:23pm: The squiggly lines in the snow here is from the buses sliding towards the cliffs of I-5:


The path the bus slid down E. Thomas
Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

27 thoughts on “Accident leaves bus hanging over I5

  1. Anyone close to tv at 12:53pm – turn on ch 5 because they have this amazing/scary scene on live.

    Update: Ch 5 replays their noon-1pm news on Kong 6/16 from 1-2. So you can watch the drama unfold around 1:30pm.

  2. Why were they going down Thomas? Even under normal conditions, that is not a street for large charter busses to be driving on.

  3. Why were those buses driving down that street anyways? knowing that it’s a steep icy street that basically dead ends to a cliff over the freeway.

  4. I haven’t checked a map to figure out why, but a lot of these kids were walking south on Bellevue past my place, saying they were told they were supposed to find Stewart street. That’s pretty messed up…! I can’t believe there wasn’t some way to pick them up and take them where they were supposed to go.

  5. Oh man, it’s even worse than I thought. They were totally lost. They must have walked all the way north, to Belmont/Bellevue Place E, and then turned around and headed south. That is so sad. Somebody gave them some really bad directions!

    But really, it’s a shame that their tour company didn’t have someone in charge to either make sure they were headed the right way, or better yet, not make them walk on foot in the ice carrying all that luggage. Sheesh.

  6. A kid on one of the buses was telling a gaggle of reporters that the driver was driving direction that sounded like they were going to take Denny but found it closed and started looking for an alternate route.

  7. Some sledders might remember, I slide my little car down Thomas street too last night, just above Summit Ave. I had to turn into the curb and got lucky. It was slippery for a tiny car, I see a bus not being able to stop.


  8. Is actually more of a “you can go to jail or go to job corps” sort of deal.

    Traffic is snarled at belleveue and olive, melrose and pike and I’d assume other places as well. They’ve shut down the denny-thomas block of melrose, and there are cop cars and idiot looky-loos wandering around melrose on the olive-denny block (I’m looking at you, moron lady in the yellow coat).

    Glad everybody seems to be ok. Hope the bus drivers get tickets for driving while idiotic and aggravated wasting people’s time.


    Also “Two of three buses carrying students with the Columbia Basin Job Corps home on Christmas break from Moses Lake, and bound for Seattle’s Greyhound bus station, slid down an icy street at Melrose Street near Denny Way coming to rest with their front end’s hanging over the Interstate 5 freeway.”
    From Seattle PI

  10. I was jsut down there a few minutes ago – this happened a block from my apt. The policeman I spoke with said in an hour or two they were going to begin closing I-5 northbound and have a tow-truck attempt to pull the dangling bus out. They had to scrape ice and sad the road first though which they are doing now. Pretty scary! I took some pictures but they are all pretty much the same as shown above nothing new really.

  11. i wonder why the bus was taking a small side street when a bigger street probably had less snow/less incline. were they thinking of going to melrose after going down thomas and taking a right onto denny?! :(

  12. What kind of fool drives a bus down Thomas in anything like the current snow and ice? This reinforces my aversion to charter buses. Too many of these companies seem to hire idiots who take major chances and subject passengers to unsafe conditions.

  13. It may not be the drivers who “take major chances.” Many companies are known to force employees to “bend” the rules and take risks for the sake of saving a buck. Truck drives are under constant stress to deliver regardless of the safety of conditions.

  14. I was on the corner of Bellevue & Thomas shooting pictures for my VR Seattle Blog when this happened. See a couple of interactive VR panoramas taken at the scene moments after the accident here:

  15. My name is marcus permenter i was on the second bus that crashed over I-5
    after all the police took our info we were told that it would take up to 3 hrs for any kind of bus to come pick us up to go the grayhound station and so on.
    Marcus Permenter

  16. Job Corps is not a “you can go to jail or go to job corps” sort of deal. Yes there are a limited few kids there with those conditions, however the majority are kids that want a chance at completing their education and also getting certification in some sort of trade so that they have a chance in this messed up world.