A broken exhaust pipe is being blamed for an illness affecting 13 tour bus passengers on Sunday night.
A California Highway Patrol inspector reported a weld at the exhaust elbow from the bus engine allowed carbon monoxide fumes to enter the rear of the passenger cabin.
The Amador Stage Lines bus was en route from Long Beach, Calif., to Reno when the driver stopped in Bridgeport after several passengers appeared ill.
Emergency crews responded and 13 of the passengers were transported by ambulance to Mammoth Lakes and Gardnerville, according to the California Highway Patrol.
All of the 13 passengers who were taken for treatment were released by Monday morning. Five of them came to Carson Valley Medical Center, and eight to Mammoth Hospital in Mammoth Lakes.
Bus operator, Amador Stage Lines, provided another bus for the remaining 40-50 passengers to continue their journey.
“The passengers of this bus were fortunate,” Bridgeport Area Commander Lt. Ron Cohan said. “Fortunate the bus driver made a sound, professional safety decision to stop in Bridgeport and not continue north through the Walker River Canyon. All indications are conditions inside the bus would have continued to worsen, and given that carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, this could have ended tragically.”
Amador Stage Lines operates 52 buses and was last inspected by the CHP on Nov. 14, 2013.
“They have an excellent record with regard to the maintenance and the mechanical safety of their vehicles,” Cohan said.
The bus pulled over in Bridgeport at around 9:20 p.m. Sunday. Mono County Paramedics responded along with Bridgeport firefighters and Mono Sheriff’s deputies.
The CHP response included four on-duty officers, a sergeant from Mammoth Lakes and the area commander, who maintained contact with Mono County Sheriff Ralph Obenberger.