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Survivors of tour bus crash begin painful journey home

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 7:46 p.m.

PENDLETON, Ore. — Some of the survivors of a fatal bus crash on a rural Oregon highway retrieved their passports and other belongings on Tuesday so they can finish their journey to Canada.

At least 14 survivors remained hospitalized in three states after the weekend crash that killed nine and injured 38 others. State police escorted others one by one to collect their property, which was strewn across a hillside as the tour bus careened 200 feet from a partly icy roadway Sunday.

The bus was returning to Vancouver, British Columbia, on the final leg of a nine-day tour of the western United States. The trip was organized by a British Columbia travel agency to carry tourists traveling in small groups. Most of the passengers were Korean.

The Red Cross said some of the survivors were too terrified to get on another bus, so a nearby Ford dealer offered to drive them in smaller passenger vehicles. Some were expected to begin the trip on Wednesday.

“The pieces are kind of getting into place about getting back to normal, and they want to go home,” said Mary Naman, a registered nurse from Portland working with the American Red Cross to help survivors.

Red Cross workers are helping about 15 survivors who remain in Pendleton, trying to make them as comfortable as possible while they wait for police to release their belongings and for the logistics of their return trip to be worked out. One local volunteer, who is Korean, planned to make traditional Korean food for them, Naman said.

Many of the survivors did not know each other before the trip but have supported each other and formed a close bond through shared experience, said Sandy Ramirez, a Red Cross psychologist.

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