A truck driver is dead and at least 30 people are injured after a tractor-trailer rammed into the back of a Canadian tour bus carrying 52 passengers travelling from Hamilton, Ont. to New York City early Friday morning.

The driver of the truck, a 59-year-old man from Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene after the collision on Interstate 90 in central New York State at approximately 1:30 a.m., police said.

Police said the driver of the tour bus had pulled over onto the shoulder of the thruway due to mechanical problems and was hit from behind after he pulled back onto the highway.

State police said they have ticketed the 60-year-old driver of the tour bus. Police said his New York state licence had been suspended after two speeding tickets, one in 2003 and the other in 2006.

Renee Bisson, from Welland, Ont., is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and could face a fine of up to $1,500 and/or a month in jail, police said.

The bus, owned by Farr's Coachlines Ltd. in Dunnville, Ont., was carrying London Life employees and family members. It caught fire in the crash, which happened southeast of Rochester.

Video footage captured after the collision shows the frame of the bus, bare wheel hubs and rubber tires that have been burned off.

The crash was so powerful, passengers were propelled from their seats and scrambled to escape, abandoning their luggage and, in some cases, their shoes, relatives said.

London Life, an insurance company based in London, Ont., has sent a team to Rochester to help passengers cope with the crash.

"The well-being of our staff, their families and friends is our primary focus," the company said in a statement released Friday.

"We are saddened to report that early this morning, a chartered bus with London Life employees, families and friends heading for New York City was involved in an accident outside Rochester, NY.

A second bus with London Life staff, family and friends was not involved in the accident," the statement said. "We understand there were injuries. All passengers involved were taken to nearby hospitals."

A total of 46 people were rushed to hospitals, 30 of whom were treated for injuries.

Two people with serious injuries were airlifted to a hospital in Rochester. O'Donnell said there have been no further updates on their condition.

By Friday evening, only six people remained in hospital. The remaining passengers were either treated and released or refused treatment, hospital staff said.

In total, seven local hospitals were used for what O'Donnell told The Canadian Press was a "mass casualty accident."

"There was a lot of confusion, it was 1:20 in the morning, the bus and the tractor trailer were fully engulfed in flames at one point, I think our EMS person on the scene wanted to make sure they got them to hospital," he said.

The crash left the highway closed for several hours, with the New York State Thruway Authority website advising motorists to "plan for extended delays" on Friday morning.

State police also said a U.S. sergeant from New York's Fort Drum who came upon the scene pulled some people from the bus.

O'Donnell said a collision reconstruction team is currently investigating to determine what caused the crash.

"Weather was not a factor. The roads were perfect. It was a hot, dry stretch," he told News Channel, adding that it was dark but not foggy at the time of the accident.

The investigation should determine how fast each vehicle was travelling, he said. Company officials from the tour bus operator are also at the scene.

"They're in discussions, being interviewed and talking to police," Daniel Farr, one of the owners, told The Canadian Press from Dunville.

He said the company has been receiving calls from concerned relatives of the passengers.

"We've been directing them as best we can," Farr said.

A woman whose parents were on the tour bus that was destroyed in the collision said some of the passengers could be back in Canada later on Friday.

Lisa Shaughnessy, of London, Ont. said London Life is sending a bus to pick up some of the passengers and bring them home.

She said the crash has unnerved her parents but they are otherwise fine.

The crash comes days after another tour bus crash left two people dead and 35 others injured on Sunday. Police said it appears that collision, which happened about 70 kilometres west of Friday's collision, was caused by a tire blowing out, causing the bus to veer off the road and flip over.

So far this year, there have been 17 tour bus accidents, killing 32 people and injuring 323 people.

That's an increase from 2010 when 30 people were killed and 272 people were injured in 28 crashes.

With files from The Canadian Press