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At least four dead in New Mexico after bus collides with truck

A tire blew out on the eastbound truck, which then jumped the grass median and struck the bus traveling in the opposite direction, police officer Ray Wilson told a news conference.

Picture: Supplied

BENGALURU - At least four people were killed in New Mexico on Thursday after a Greyhound passenger bus collided head-on with a semi-trailer truck that jumped a highway median strip, and the death toll was expected to rise, the New Mexico state police said.

A tire blew out on the eastbound truck, which then jumped the grass median and struck the bus traveling in the opposite direction, police officer Ray Wilson told a news conference.

The death toll has risen to at least six, television stations KOAT and KOB said from the scene.

The bus was carrying 49 passengers, a Greyhound spokeswoman said. It collided with the truck around 12:30pm on Interstate 40 near the city of Thoreau, about 100 miles west of Albuquerque, the state police said.

All but six of those on the bus were taken to nearby hospitals, said Wilson, adding that those six had minor injuries and were treated at the site.

Greyhound Lines spokeswoman Crystal Booker said the bus was headed from Albuquerque to Phoenix, but deferred comment on the crash to the state police.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a team of its investigators would arrive on the scene early on Friday.

Investigators were unsure what cargo the truck was carrying, but Wilson said “there are a lot of vegetables” at the crash site. He did not know whether speed was a contributing factor to the crash.

Photos on social media showed a truck on its side with the trailer’s cargo scattered across the highway, and the Greyhound bus upright, but with its front end obliterated.

Gallup Indian Health Services received 37 of the injured, said Jennifer Buschick, a spokeswoman for the Gallup hospital. Six people with injuries too severe to be treated there were stabilized and taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

Three of the six patients taken to UNMH were listed in critical condition and the condition of the others was not released, said spokeswoman Cindy Foster.

The westbound lanes of I-40 were closed because of the crash, state police said.