ORANGE COUNTY - In a crash where minutes count, local officials and firefighters in Orange County said precious time may have been lost in last week's charter bus crash in Wawayanda that killed two people and injured 40 others.
The charter bus was on Interstate 84, around 45 miles northwest of New York City. It veered off the road and rolled down a 50-foot ravine.
There were 40 students and four adults on board, and local officials said the massive emergency response that was needed demonstrates why a special access road, called a "crash gate," is so needed at that location.
"We would have gotten there sooner," said Slate Hill Fire Chief Michael Dally. "I would say anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes sooner. How it would have changed the outcome, I don't know. But I think it would have been good for us to obviously be there as soon as possible, even just to start assessing the scene."
Without a crash gate to access the road, emergency vehicles, as was the case last week, have to drive to the next exit ramp after the scene and then double back.
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The sheer number of those injured intensified the emergency with dozens of students having to be transported to six different hospitals. Five of the injured were in critical condition.
Investigators continue looking into whether a faulty front tire was to blame. Over the weekend, the high school's superintendent said while some of the injured students are struggling, all of those who are hurt are expected to recover.