Passengers between the ages of 7 and 74 years old were on board a bus that crashed down a 200-foot embankment off Interstate 84, killing nine people Sunday.
"I've been a firefighter for 20 years and this is the first time I've seen anything like this," said Pendleton firefighter Steve Brost.
Police released the names of the survivors taken to the hospital after the crash. The victims who were killed have not yet been identified, but they are believed to all be adults.
Family members identified one of the deceased as Dale Osborn of Spanaway, WA.
He was on a bus tour trip with his wife, who suffered broken ribs in the crash, said their daughter, Jennifer Sherman.
"They went down to California, they went to Disney World, they went to Las Vegas and they were having just a great time. And I don't know, this happened," said Sherman.
Sherman flew to Oregon from Colorado after learning about the crash. She said her parents were ejected from the bus.
"She woke up in a river bed. And she said, there was something pinning my father down," said Sherman.
A total of 49 people were onboard the bus when it slammed into a concrete barrier on the left shoulder of the two-lane highway close to Milepost 227 near Pendleton at 10:05 a.m., according to police.
Many of them are believed to be from South Korea and may include students living in Vancouver, British Columbia, and northern Washington as part of a home stay program. Other survivors are from Taiwan, Japan, Canada and Oregon and Washington, said OSP.
Investigators said during a press conference Monday the bus veered across both lanes and struck a metal guardrail before plummeting down the steep and snow-covered embankment.
One survivor at the shelter described the situation after returning from the hospital.
"Me and my brother got out of the bus and we saw many people spread in the snow," said Byung Woo Yoo. "We find some people who alive, who died."
Ten of the 39 survivors had been released from the hospital by Monday morning.
Four others were transported to Oregon Health & Science University, while one person was taken to Legacy Emanuel in Portland.
Their conditions have not been made available, but police said their injuries were serious enough to require them to be transferred.
The driver, Haeng Kyu Hwang, 54, of Vancouver, British Columbia, is among the survivors, and police said they will investigate whether he is at fault for the crash.
OSP says there were reports of ice on the highway at the time of the crash. The stretch of road is called Cabbage Hill.
Sherman said her mother described the moments before the crash. "She said the driver kept passing people. I don't know about speed but the roads were icy and they just went off the cliff."
Yoo told Fox 12 he had concerns about the speed the bus was traveling before the crash.
The bus belongs to Mi Joo Tour and Travel out of Vancouver, British Columbia, according to investigators.
The company did not provide a comment when contacted by Fox 12.
Police said they expect their investigation to last at least four weeks.
Many of the people who were onboard the bus do not speak English. Crews contacted a Korean translator in Pendleton who responded to help with the flow of communication. Representatives from the South Korean consulate in Seattle are also in Pendleton, offering help.
Investigators are having some difficulty identifying all the survivors because many people left their identification at the crash scene.
Oregon State Police released the names of the survivors Monday evening. Family members are asked to check the list to confirm if someone they know was traveling on the bus. If so, family members should call the hospital for further information.
If a name is not on the list, a family representative can call 503-375-3555. This is not a general information number and is to be used only by family members of potential passengers on the bus.
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