Driver tried to use entrance marked with signs warning of low clearance
A bus carrying 32 members of a church group hit a concrete overpass at Miami International Airport after the driver got lost, killing two men on board and leaving three others critically injured, officials said Saturday.
Buses are supposed to go through the departures area, which has a higher ceiling than the arrivals areas’ 8-foot-6-inch entrance, said airport spokesman Greg Chin.
Chin said the passengers told him they were part of a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses headed to West Palm Beach. Police said the group had chartered the bus to take them to a church convention there.
The group was made up of congregation members of Sweetwater’s Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño.
Two large signs warn drivers of large vehicles not to enter beneath the concrete overpass. One attached to the top of the concrete barrier reads: “High Vehicle STOP Turn Left.” The other, placed to the left of the driveway several feet in front of the barrier, says all vehicles higher than the 8-foot-6 threshold must turn left.
'Very bloody' scene
Three people were at hospitals in critical condition. The other 27 surviving passengers had been hurt, but their injuries were less extensive, authorities said.
One person died at the scene; the second died later at a hospital.
Eight of the 14 patients taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital were in stable condition while two others were in critical, said hospital spokeswoman Lidia Amoretti. Three others were expected to be discharged later Saturday.
A majority of the injuries were facial because of the frontal impact, said Miami-Dade Police spokesman Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
Osvaldo Lopez, an officer with the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, went inside the bus to help and found several passengers thrown into the center aisle.
“It was just very bloody,” he said of the scene.