Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

Oregon State Police

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered a Canadian bus company to cease operations in the United States after a deadly crash in Oregon in late December. Investigators blame driver fatigue. But not everyone in the Northwest Korean community is glad for the tour company’s shuttering here.

The bus accident killed nine people on a treacherous bit of Interstate 84, near Pendleton. Now, the federal government found in an investigation that, “Mi Joo Tour & Travel failed to take basic measures to ensure that its drivers are properly rested for safe vehicle operations …”

Oregon State Police

The Northwest’s tight-knit Korean community continues to grieve the nine people who died in that bus crash just before New Year’s Eve in northeast Oregon. Some of the survivors have already filed a lawsuit against the tour bus company, saying the driver was too tired and going too fast.

Members of a Korean church in Bothell, Washington, are grieving one of their youth pastors. The Oregon State Police haven’t confirmed the death of nineteen-year-old Richard Sohn, but Community Church of Seattle members believe he was on the bus and has died.

Oregon State Police

Two young victims of a deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon that happened just before New Year’s Eve have filed a new lawsuit.  They say the driver was fatigued and going too fast.

The two boys – 15 and 16 -- who filed the lawsuit, describe a harrowing scene. The boys are from Korea, in the U.S. on student visas. They say the tour bus flipped end-over-end as it fell hundreds of feet down an embankment. The boys say they were knocked unconscious or fainted and awoke to screams, people pinned in seats and dead bodies all around them.

Oregon State Police

The Northwest Korean community is grieving two more victims in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. So far, seven of the nine victims’ names have been released in the accident that also injured dozens.

One of the latest two victims to be identified is Chun Ho Bahn, age 63. She was a U.S. Citizen from Bothell, Washington. Her husband is being treated at a hospital in Pendleton. The other victim is Ae Ja Kim, age 61, from Korea. Her husband is still being treated in Portland, Oregon.

Oregon State Police

RICHLAND, Wash. – Two Korean tourists who were visiting family in Bothell, Washington are the latest victims to be identified in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. Police say Sunday’s accident east of Pendleton was Oregon’s deadliest crash since 1971. Among the dead were 67-year-old Jung Oun Hong and his 63-year-old wife, Kim Joong Wha of Korea.

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings with the Oregon State Police says there are some real challenges in identifying the victims quickly for waiting families.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Most of the tsunami warning sirens in one Oregon coastal county will go silent in the New Year. Communities up and down the West Coast are phasing in more modern forms of emergency alerts.

After much debate, Tillamook County leaders decided they could not justify the expense of modernizing and maintaining an aging network of 30 tsunami warning sirens. County emergency management director Gordon McCraw says there are many other pathways for people to hear about incoming danger.

Staff Sgt. Jason van Mourik / Oregon Military Department Public Affairs

SALEM, Ore. – The state of Oregon is at odds with the federal government over how to use money from Japan meant for cleaning up tsunami debris. It can’t be used to reimburse the state for money it’s already spent.

The Japanese government donated $5 million to the US this fall to help pay for the cost of cleaning up debris from last year’s deadly tsunami. But Oregon hasn't seen a penny of that money so far.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A massive fire that burned 61 homes in Central Washington was likely caused by Department of Transportation contractors. That’s the upshot of a report issued Monday by Washington’s Department of Natural Resources.

The aptly named Taylor Bridge Fire started August 13 right after transportation contractors did some welding work on that bridge. It happened near the mountain town of Cle Elum.

IFRC

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Chances are, you've heard the public service announcements that say "It's up to you to be ready. Get a kit. Make a plan..."

For years, emergency managers have urged people to stockpile enough food, water and supplies to last 72 hours after a disaster. In the Northwest, basic assumptions like that are now under scrutiny, especially when it comes to the risk from a big earthquake. Two committees in Oregon and Washington have been working for more than a year to come up with wide-ranging recommendations to improve the region's disaster resilience.

The persistent smoke from wildfires has gotten so bad in the Wenatchee and Ellensburg areas that county health departments are telling everyone to stay indoors if possible. Firefighters continue to defend rural homes and subdivisions on the east slopes of the Cascades. Containment of the numerous wildfires there appears a long ways off.

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