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Four die in double-decker bus crash

Four passengers were killed and others critically injured when a double-decker bus travelling off its usual route slammed into a low railway bridge in pre-dawn darkness.

The Megabus was carrying 27 people, including the driver, when it rammed the bridge on the Onondaga Lake Parkway in Salina, a suburb of Syracuse in central New York.

The bus lay on its side after the crash. Twenty-four people were taken to hospitals, most suffering from minor injuries, officials said. A handful remained in hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The bus was too tall to make it under the low-hanging span, said Larry Ives, supervisor of dispatch operations for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department.

It struck the bridge between two large signs warning that the clearance was 10 feet 9 inches, photographs from WSYR-TV showed. The top level of the bus was crushed and partially peeled back in the front.

The driver of the bus had head injuries but was speaking to investigators, Onondaga County sheriff's deputy Herb Wiggins said.

The dead included three men and a woman in her teens or early 20s, Sheriff Kevin Walsh said, adding that there was no indication the driver had been drinking or using drugs.

The bus left Philadelphia on Friday and was headed for Toronto with stops in Syracuse and Buffalo, said Don Carmichael, a senior vice president at Coach USA, which operates Megabus.

Normally, the bus enters Syracuse on Interstate 81 and heads straight for a depot for a 30 minute rest stop, Mr Carmichael said, but on this night, the driver left his usual route and was on a road that might have been unfamiliar.

"We don't know why," he said. Asked if the driver might have been lost, Mr Carmichael said, "He had driven the route before."

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