NEW YORK -- A pair of buses collided in the Lincoln Tunnel Wednesday, injuring 31 people and causing significant delays into Manhattan, according to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
A New Jersey Transit 166 Route bus rear ended a private bus, a Port Authority spokesperson said. The crash happened closer to the New York side of the tunnel than the New Jersey side -- about 90 percent into the tunnel, the spokesperson said. The driver, a 36-year-old man whose name hasn't been released, has not been charged; a police investigation continues.
Jaehoon Chun was sitting at the very front of the 166 NJ Transit bus, on his phone, when he says the bus rear ended another in front of them. "I heard the bang and then banged my knee," Chun said. "People were bleeding."
The tour bus was carrying students from Canada on a graduation trip, authorities said. None of the 26 students and two adults on the bus were hurt, a spokeswoman for the Toronto District School Board told The Associated Press.
New Jersey Transit said about 60 people were traveling on its bus, which had left Cresskill for New York City.
Two pregnant woman were stuck traffic aboard a bus behind the crash, and one went into labor, Port Authority officials said in a noon news conference. She was rushed to Roosevelt hospital. The other woman refused treatment.
A PIX11 News photographer inside the tunnel reported seeing and smelling smoke in the tube.
The crash happened about 9:35 a.m. in the eastbound center tube, which the Port Authority closed, diverting traffic to the south tube during the hour it took to fully clear the buses.
The victims' injuries are not considered life-threatening, a Port Authority official said. Four people had to be carried away on stretchers with serious back and neck injuries, according to EMS. No broken bones or respiratory issues were reported.
Drivers were warned to expect delays of at least 1 hour, according to PIX11 News' traffic anchor Kaitlin Monte. The crash isn't expected to affect the evening rush.
Officials from the city's Office of Emergency Management, Port Authority and FDNY all agreed while frustrating times for some commuters - getting the injured out of the tunnel and eventually getting traffic moving again was a seamless process.
"We have a tunnel full of commuters, we have pregnant individuals you have elderly language barriers and we were able to effectively remove everyone safely," said the EMS's Stephen Locke.
Earlier, Port Authority officials urged drivers to avoid the Lincoln Tunnel all together, taking instead the George Washington Bridge or the Holland Tunnel to get into Manhattan.
New Jersey Transit buses traveling to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal were also subject to significant delays due to the crash, the agency said.