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Originally published June 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 1, 2009 at 11:51 AM

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Corrected version

Severe swaying throws some bus passengers from seats

A Metro Transit bus traveling north on Interstate 5 on Thursday morning swayed so severely that some passengers were thrown from their seats. A Metro spokeswoman, who guessed the problem could have been a combination of old shock absorbers and a fully loaded bus, said the coach would be inspected.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A Metro Transit bus traveling north on Interstate 5 on Thursday morning swayed so severely that some passengers were thrown from their seats.

The Route 941 bus was heading from the Star Lake Park-and-Ride toward Tukwila in the HOV lane when it began swaying at around 7 a.m., passenger Sue Callahan said.

"At first we didn't think about it," Callahan said. But when the problem didn't correct itself, she said passengers began panicking.

"I've never heard so many people yelling prayers in my life."

Callahan said the swaying was so severe that passengers feared the bus would tip and land on its side. The swaying went on, she said, for 15 to 30 seconds.

The bus driver told passengers the bus had done the same thing when he was driving it earlier in the day, Callahan said.

Callahan said the driver told passengers he reported the incident to Metro officials, who told him to slow down.

"We were just thrilled," she said. The bus had been going the speed limit before it began to sway, she said.

A Metro spokeswoman said the bus would be inspected. She guessed the coach could need new shock absorbers.

Standard procedure when a Metro operator believes a vehicle could be malfunctioning is to pull over when it is safe, do a visual inspection of the bus and then report the incident, according to Rochelle Ogershok, Metro spokeswoman.

Ogershok said motion problems with articulated buses are much more noticeable if a bus is driven with a full load of passengers.

Callahan said the bus was almost full.

Ogershok said these problems usually are not linked to any vehicle or operator malfunction and usually are corrected through vehicle maintenance.

Phillip Lucas: 206-515-5632 or plucas@seattletimes.com

The information in this article, originally published June 5, 2009, was corrected June 5, 2009. Rochelle Ogershok is the spokeswoman for Metro Transit. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Ogershok's name.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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