UPDATE (10:50 a.m. Tuesday) — This post was updated with additional information from a state trooper and a witness.
ITHACA, N.Y. — A Cornell alumna was killed late Sunday when a bus traveling from Ithaca to New York City crashed on I-380.
The chartered bus crashed around 9 p.m. Sunday in Covington Township, Pennsylvania. The bus was traveling south when it left the road and crashed into a wooded area, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The bus is believed to be a Big Red Bullet bus, though officials have not confirmed the operator.
A 33-year-old California woman, Rebecca Renee Blanco, died in the crash. Blanco is a 2017 graduate of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.
— Jessica Albert FOX 35 (@FOX35Jessica) October 15, 2018
A medical helicopter and multiple ambulances responded to the scene. WNEP reports multiple passengers, believed to be Cornell students, are being treated at area hospitals for injuries.
In an update Monday afternoon, Trooper Robert Urban of Pennsylvania State Police, said 13 people were on the bus, including the driver. One person remains in stable condition at the hospital and all others were released.
Urban said there is no information on what caused the crash yet.
The crash closed I-380 from about 9 p.m. until 3 a.m.
The charter bus that crashed was passing another bus broken down on the side of the road before it crashed, a witness told The Ithaca Voice. Kenya Kanazawa, who was in Ithaca for a music event, said he was taking the OurBus line to New York City when the bus broke down due to engine trouble. Kanazawa said they were waiting for a bus to pick them up. While waiting, Kanazawa said they saw the charter bus pass them and crash into the forest.
At first, Kanazawa said “we couldn’t understand what happened.” He said it happened fast. The bus passed them and crashed into the trees.
Joel M. Malina, vice president for Cornell University Relations, released the following statement following the crash:
Cornell University has learned that one of our alumni, Rebecca Blanco, MBA ‘17, lost her life in the tragic Sunday night bus accident in Northern Pennsylvania. We extend our deepest sympathies to Rebecca’s family and friends.
Cornell University Police are in contact with area emergency responders, who report that other passengers on the private bus line also sustained injuries in the crash. We will be monitoring the situation closely as our thoughts and prayers remain with all of those involved.
Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Cornell Health’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. Students may speak with a peer counselor by calling the Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service (EARS) at 607-255-3277.
Big Red Bullet did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday morning.
This story will be updated as more information is released.
Managing Editor Kelsey O’Connor contributed to this report.