BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Three airmen, who were flown to nearby hospitals Tuesday after a bus accident on a steep roadway outside of Baumholder, are in stable condition and likely will be released by the end of the week, according to Ramstein Air Base officials.

The accident, which involved Air Force members from across Europe, caused minor injuries to about 20 other people on the bus.

"We have no life-threatening injuries," said Capt. Erin Dorrance, a spokeswoman for the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base.

The bus lost control about 3 p.m. along L169 in the village of Niederalben, site of a U.S. Army training ground. The Air Force members had just completed a training mission at the center and were returning to Sembach Air Base.

It remains unclear what caused the bus, which was carrying 41 passengers, to crash through a guardrail and flip over on its side.

"It’s under safety investigation right now," Dorrance said.

Tuesday’s accident occurred on a narrow road that gives access to the Niederalben training ground.

While three people were evacuated by helicopters to nearby German hospitals, 19 others were treated at the scene. Some of the victims were later admitted to the hospital.

As of Wednesday morning, fewer than a dozen people remained in the hospital.

Dorrance said all the passengers, including the three who were airlifted out, should be released by the end of the week.

A second bus carrying Air Force personnel, which also was traveling back to Sembach, was not involved in the accident.

The roadway was shutdown while crews worked to lift the overturned bus from the side of the road, blocking afternoon traffic.

The Air Force members, drawn from contingency response units throughout Europe, are in Sembach with the 786th Security Forces Squadron. The squadron runs a regional center that trains people to set up air bases in remote and hostile locations.

"They’re a small, capable force that goes to austere airfields and is able to set up a base in the middle of nowhere," Dorrance said. "In a couple hours they’re able to get a base set up."

The exercises at the Niederalben training ground is part of the predeployment course at Sembach.

Among the first responders at the accident scene were German army medics who were participating in their own training exercise in Baumholder.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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