Breaking: Tour bus crash in Austin

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Several people are reportedly dead in the crash of a tour bus on I-90 in Austin, Minnesota.

I’ll post links and info as things emerge.

4:37 p.m. – KTCC TV in Austin reports two dead.

4:39 p.m. - Pictures from the scene are coming from KAAL TV

It waas a bun from Strain Bus Line Motorcoach Tours, and it is a weekly bus that takes people from Rochester, Byron, Kasson and Blooming Prairie to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa.

4:43 p.m. - Background. Federal Motor Coach Safety Administration gives Minnesota a “good” (highest) rating in inspections of buses.

4:47 p.m. - There were no fatalities on buses in 2008, according to the FMCSA, but that’s incorrect. There was one in Albertville in the spring of 2008 when a bus carrying students back to Pelican Rapids from a band even in Chicago ran off the road on I-94.

Twenty-three people died in Minnesota in accidents involving buses in 2007. One of the more noteworthy crashes in this area was in Osseo, Wisconsin in 2005 when a tour bus hit a jacknifed trailer truck on I-94 (WCCO).

4:54 p.m. – MPR’s Tim Nelson is heading for the scene and will provide overnight/morning coverage.

4:59 p.m.Bus company’s Web site.

5:02 p.m. - Additional photos posted on the Rochester Post Bulletin Web site. Most of the riders appeared to be elderly, the newspaper said.

5:05 p.m. - From MnDOT: I-90 in both directions: Road closed to traffic. Between Exit 166: Oakland Road and Exit 175: Oakland Avenue West (3 miles west of the Austin area). The road is closed to traffic. Look out for a serious accident.

5:11 p.m. - The topography of the crash area, courtesy of Google.

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5:18 p.m. – Here’s Tim Engstrom from the Albert Lea Tribune with MPR All Things Considered host Tom Crann:

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5:27 p.m. – Photo above courtesy of KAAL TV

5:37 p.m. – Minnesota Department of Public Safety has confirmed two are dead in the crash.

5:56 p.m. – Shifting updates over to this page.

7:10 p.m. – The Rochester Post Bulletin has posted video here.

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