-- The NTSB announced today it located an electronic control module (ECM) on the engine of the Texas bus, which may hold the key as to what caused the Saturday crash that killed eight and injured dozens more.
However, NTSB Investigator Pete Kotowski explained at the news conference that the ECM on board the bus was an older model, and may not contain the data that is available on newer models (ie: steering, speed, use of brakes, etc). Kotowski added that his team will attempt to download the device later this week.
The motorcoach bus only had four seat belts on board, which were found in the first row of the bus, according to Kotowski.
The agency will continue its in-depth investigation tomorrow into what caused the motorcoach bus, on its way to a casino in Eagle Pass, to crash Saturday morning north of Laredo, Texas, on Highway 83 North.
In the coming days, NTSB Spokesperson Keith Holloway said the agency plans to go over the bus “with a fine tooth comb” and will also be looking at whether rain or the roadway played a factor in the crash. Additionally, it will be looking at the charter bus company’s records, the driver history and status at the time of the crash, and whether the bus had any modifications made to it after it was manufactured in 1997. Interviews with the company, the driver and passengers are expected to occur later this week.
Earlier today, the Texas Department of Public Safety released the name of the Texas bus driver who was driving at the time of the Saturday bus crash. The driver is 29-year-old Porfirio Aguirre Vasquez from Pharr, Texas.
Doctors Hospital of Laredo, where dozens of passengers were treated following the crash on Saturday, told ABC News Monday that Vasquez was treated and released on Saturday. The hospital, however, would not comment as to the extent of his injuries.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived Sunday and cautioned that it may be more than a year before officials determine the cause of the crash. Investigators on scene are currently looking at several factors, including documenting and examining the bus, documenting the highway and interviewing the passengers and drivers, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway told ABC News.
"Today is the first full day on scene," Holloway said. "This is still very early in the investigation. We are collecting factual information and we rely on the facts to lead us and we do not speculate."
"It can take up to 14 months before a cause is determined," Holloway added.
In addition to the NTSB, the Texas DPS is also investigating the bus crash. Texas DPS spokesman Sgt. Johnny Hernandez told ABC News that the agency has interviewed Vasquez, and will be looking at the driver, the vehicle and the roadway conditions for clues as to what caused the crash. The DPS is, however, still waiting for statements from the passengers and "other people."
The bus is registered to OGA Charters, a San Juan-based company that owns two buses, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website. OGA Charters did not immediately respond to ABC News's request for comment.
In the previous 24 months, there have been a total of five roadside inspections with OGA Charters, three of which included inspection of the vehicle, and of the three vehicle inspections, one vehicle was placed out of service twice. According to the FMCSA, this indicates an out-of-service rate of 66.7%, while the national average is 20.72%
It is unclear if the bus in violation was the same bus involved with the crash, or if the two brake violations were related.
But Kotowski cautioned jumping to conclusions regarding the violations against the company.
“There was a warning noted on this particular carrier for out-of-service issues, however, that alert does not necessarily mean that the carrier is itself an unsafe carrier. It just means that there were violations that were detected in roadside inspections and this is part of an evaluation process. So it's not a mere fact in itself that the carrier was unsafe. Overall, the carrier has been rated satisfactory,” Kotowski said.
OGA Charters was also cited twice -- once in 2014 and once in 2015 -- for violations related to the "driver's record of duty." According to FMCSA Spokesperson Duane DeBruyne, this could mean anything from not updating a log book, to a driver violating FMCSA's "Hours of service rules." According to FMCSA, passenger-carrying drivers can be "on duty" for 15 hours, but can only drive a maximum time of 10 hours. Then, the driver must take eight consecutive hours off before returning to duty.
According to the latest data available by the FMCSA, there were 31 fatal motorcoach crashes in 2014, resulting in the death of 47 people, 19 of whom were passengers.