A charter bus headed to a casino crashed in far South Texas on Saturday, killing eight people and injuring 44 others when it rolled over, officials said.
Seven people died at the scene on US Highway 83 about 46 miles (75km) north of Laredo and another died later in hospital, Texas department of public safety trooper Conrad Hein said.
“The driver of the bus lost control and rolled over,” he said. “Everything’s real preliminary right now.”
Hein said the driver was among the survivors. His name and the names of passengers were not immediately available, Hein said.
The trooper said it was raining on Saturday morning but it was uncertain if that was a factor in the crash that occurred just before 11.30am. He said no other vehicles were in the area at the time.
“Our troopers are going to look into what happened but it’s going to take us some time,” he said of the investigation. “We just know the driver lost control.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Saturday night it was sending a team to also investigate the wreck. They were expected to arrive on Sunday.
The bus, identified as belonging to OGA Charters, originated in the Rio Grande Valley and was headed to a casino in Eagle Pass, about 125 miles (200km) north-west of Laredo, said Webb county volunteer fire department chief Ricardo Rangel.
The crash is one of the deadliest bus accidents in Texas in several years, including one in January 2015 when two prison guards and eight inmates were killed after their prison bus struck a piece of displaced highway guardrail west of Odessa. The bus fell about 20 ft (six metres) before striking a Union Pacific freight train that was passing beneath.
In 2008, 17 passengers died near Sherman when their bus plunged over a highway bridge on their way to a religious retreat in Missouri.