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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 20:33 GMT 21:33 UK
US bus attack horror
The Greyhound bus which crashed after a passenger slit the driver's throat
The bus crashed into a roadside ditch
Six people have been killed in a Greyhound bus crash in central Tennessee after the vehicle's driver had his throat slashed by a passenger.

At this time we don't believe it was terrorist-related

Susan Dryden
US Justice Department
The bus left Interstate Highway 24 near the town of Manchester, Tennessee, and crashed into a ditch early on Wednesday morning.

Greyhound suspended services across the United States for several hours following the incident, which is not thought to be related to last month's terror attacks on New York and Washington.

Survivors of the crash, believed to number about 40, received treatment at local hospitals.

Greyhound earlier reported 10 people had been killed in the crash.

The driver was treated for a cut to his neck and was stable after surgery, said Coffee County Medical Examiner Dr Al Brandon.

He confirmed that the driver's throat had been slashed with a "sharp instrument similar to a razor blade".

Dr Brandon said the driver had told him that one passenger on the bus, who spoke with a foreign accent and is said to have been carrying a Croatian passport, got up from his seat and spoke to him several times before the attack.

After attacking the driver, the man grabbed the steering wheel, forcing the bus into the oncoming lanes of the highway before it left the road and tipped over onto its right side.

'Not terrorist related'

The driver, whose name has not been released, said the attacker - who, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, did not survive the crash - was thrown through the windscreen of the bus.

Greyhound bus
Suspension of Greyhound bus services caused chaos for travellers
US Justice Department spokeswoman Susan Dryden said investigations into the crash were continuing.

But she added: "At this time we don't believe it was terrorist related."

Greyhound spokesman Mike Lake said the bus began its journey in Chicago and had a final destination of Orlando, Florida. It is not yet known where the attacker boarded the bus.

The company would not normally suspend nationwide operations after one crash. It had begun improving security in its terminals across the US following the 11 September terror attacks by suicide pilots using hijacked airliners.

The service suspension stranded passengers at a time when the aircraft hijackings had driven many passenger away from airline services.

Last nationwide service

John Townsend, a businessman on his way to Seattle, said he was shocked by news of the incident.

"Usually, I fly," he said. "But with what's been going on around the country, I thought it was probably safer to take a bus."

Greyhound Lines carries more than 25 million passengers a year as the last remaining nationwide bus service.

About 1,800 of the company's 2,300 buses were in service at the time of the crash.

The BBC's Jane Standley
"Investigators are reluctant to give out any information"
See also:

03 Oct 01 | Americas
US airlines to reinforce cockpits
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