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Soldier Saves Passengers in Fatal Bus Crash

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An unidentified U.S. Army soldier is being hailed as a hero Friday for pulling over his car to rescue passengers inside a burning New York-bound tour bus that had crashed into a tractor trailer, killing one and injuring at least 30 passengers.

There were no fatalities on the tour bus, and police say that's thanks largely to the heroic actions of the soldier stationed at the nearby Fort Drum Army base. The soldier spoke with rescue teams when they arrived and then continued on to the airport.

The Army has stated that the soldier was part of the 1-8 cavalry brigade that had just gone on leave Thursday and was on his way to the airport when he pulled over to help rescue the victims.

The tour bus was carrying 53 people from Ontario, Canada, to New York for a three-day tour. Thirty passengers were injured, two critically, and the driver of the tractor trailer was killed. Thirteen of the wounded sustained very minor injuries and were able to walk away from the scene on their own, while 15 others sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious, according to ABC News' New York City affiliate, WABC-7.

The soldier was driving in a car behind the bus and stopped to pull passengers out of the burning vehicle after it crashed, according to ABC News affiliate WSYR-9 in Syracuse, N.Y.

New York State Police identified the tractor trailer driver as a 59-year-old man from Dryden, Mich.

The accident occurred around 1:30 a.m. on the New York State Thruway in Waterloo, N.Y., midway between Syracuse and Rochester. Police say the tractor trailer rear-ended the tour bus as it pulled back onto the Thruway after it had been stopped for about 30 minutes with a mechanical problem.

Both vehicles were destroyed by fire.

The tour bus, operated by Farr's Coach Lines of Dunnville, Ontario, was on a planned trip from Hamilton, Ontario, to the New York City area. The bus departed Canada Thursday night and was to return Sunday.

The name of the truck's driver has not yet been released, nor have the names of the bus driver and his passengers.

Friday's crash is the latest in a spate of crashes involving tour buses this year that have left 32 people dead and 323 injured, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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