GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — Twenty one people on board a Greyhound bus had to be rescued after the bus got stuck about 22 miles up Coffee Pot Springs Road in Garfield County Friday night, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
The 21 people rescued included an elderly woman with heart conditions, the sheriff’s office said. Garfield County Search and Rescue members used two transport vans to safely remove the passengers down the mountain. No injuries were reported.
The call for assistance came in to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office around 6 p.m. The caravan of rescued passengers reached Interstate 70 shortly after midnight, the sheriff’s office said.
The Greyhound bus was trying to navigate the dirt and gravel road, which is generally travelled by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles, when it managed to tear a whole through the bottom of its engine’s oil pan creating an oil spill along the high mountain road to White River National Forest, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
A hazmat group was called in to contain and clean up the hazardous materials spill.
It’s not clear why the greyhound bus was on Coffee Pot Springs Road. I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is closed due to numerous mudslides. The sheriff’s office is advising travelers to not follow GPS mapping in an attempt to circumvent the I-70 closure. They said backcountry roads are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler.
They are recommending motorists use the alternative northern route, and truckers avoid I-70 all together and take Interstate 80 through Wyoming. There is no estimated time on when that stretch of highway will reopen as crews continue to clear debris and make repairs to the viaduct structure.
The northern alternate route includes at least a two-hour-long detour. Westbound traffic can exit at Silverthorne and travel north on Colorado 9 to U.S. 40, then west to Craig. From Craig, take Colorado 13 south to Rifle and back on I-70. Eastbound traffic will need to exit at Rifle and take the same route in the other direction.
Greyhound provided this statement to Denver7,
"Greyhound is continuing to investigate the rerouting incident that lead to the immobile bus. All passengers have been transferred onto a relief bus and we are currently working to obtain equipment to retrieve the original coach. We have no further details at this time."