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Tour bus tips on snowy New Jersey highway

Two killed, all 43 others injured

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MANAHAWKIN, New Jersey (CNN) -- A bus heading to Atlantic City crashed Friday in heavy snow on the Garden State Parkway, killing two people and injuring all 43 others aboard, police said.

Forty-four passengers -- most of them Asian-American -- boarded the bus in Lower Manhattan's Chinatown at 9:50 a.m. planning to gamble in the Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino.

At 11:43 a.m., 24 miles short of its destination, the bus tipped onto its side, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police Department said. Police said weather probably played a role in the wreck.

A severe snowstorm snarled traffic throughout the Northeast on Friday and caused delays at numerous airports. (Full story)

Officials said the bus crashed near milepost 64 in Manahawkin, about 80 miles south-southeast of New York City.

Most of those hurt suffered injuries to their backs and necks, hospital officials said.

Many of the passengers did not speak English, which made it difficult to determine whether they needed medical attention, state police said.

The 38-year-old driver, Guang Ming Li of New York City, was also injured. He was being questioned by state police.

The injured were taken to three hospitals.

Six of the 11 men and one woman taken to Southern Ocean County Hospital were in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. Two patients had been discharged by mid-afternoon.

None of the 11 taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River, New Jersey, were in critical condition, a spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the Atlantic City Medical Center said it was receiving an unspecified number of patients.

The bus is owned by the Queens, New York-based Dahlia Travel and Tours Inc.

The company's Web site said its fleet of tour buses is "almost brand new (1999, 2000, and 2001 Neoplan buses), in tip-top shape and is frequently maintained. Our drivers are all highly experienced, friendly, and would love to make your trip a pleasant one."

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