Teen Dies While Standing On Double-Decker Tour Bus

A 16-year-old boy died this weekend in California after doing something a lot of other teens probably wouldn't think twice about: standing on a bus.

Mason Zisette was just one of several teens under the age of 18 who was traveling with adult chaperones on a double-decker Starline Tours bus that had been chartered to attend a private birthday party for one of the young passengers at a venue south of Manhattan Beach. As the bus made its way down the San Diego Freeway at 45 miles per hour, Zisette -- who was seated on the roofless top deck -- reportedly stood up on his seat to dance. He was facing the opposite direction of the freeway signs and had no idea what horrible thing was about to happen.

Zisette's head and hands reportedly slammed into the Arbor Vitae Street overpass, according to police. He was rushed to the hospital and died two days later. At the time of the incident there were 45 passengers on the bus, but all of the adult chaperones were reportedly inside the bus and the top deck was occupied only by teens. Double-decker tour buses reportedly don't often travel on freeways.

Zisette, who was a tennis player at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, was doing something I wouldn't have thought twice about doing as a teen. My friends and I would have probably been so thrilled to travel on a double-decker bus -- just feeling the wind on your face can be intoxicating enough -- that I can picture standing on a chair and celebrating life without considering the potential danger of doing so.

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I don't blame this teen for what happened -- and I really don't think it's fair to point fingers at the adult chaperones, either. This just seems like a freak accident that no one would have suspected could ever happen and that will, sadly, serve as an example in the future. With that said, freeways with overpasses have height restrictions and I question how close this bus came to passing the requirement to travel on this freeway.

At the end of the day -- regardless of who or what is to blame -- this poor teen's family members are dealing with a senseless loss and our hearts go out to them.

Do you blame the adults involved in this trip for this teen's death or do you feel this was just a horrible accident?


Image via Prayitno/Thank you for visiting/Flickr





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Marlo... Marloh818

I have NEVER heard of a double decker tour bus not having an adult riding on the top. It's called an employee of the touring company. Safety regulations require them to post an employee on the bus to prevent freak accidents such as this from happening. There is more, MUCH more to this story.

D.j. Lord

NO.I blame the kid..mistakes happen and sometimes you pay for em

Jeana... JeanaJaybird

I've never rode a double decker bus before .. but I do find something strange here. I mean, is it really that easy to die by simply just standing up on one of those?? If this is the case then why in the hell would the buses be allowed to go under places with such a clearance .. are the passengers made aware of these risks? I just find it extremely odd that it is that easy to be hit by standing in one of these ..

youth... youthfulsoul

I blame the bus company. They shouldn't allow anyone to ride up top if there is a possibility of low clearance. How would an adult or kid know this?

nonmember avatar Blougger

I agree, clearance means CLEARANCE. If an average height human can exceed an LA Fwy bridge height by standing, even if standing on the seat, no way that bus had a right to pass under it, let alone travel on the freakin 405. We have dumber restrictions in this world than a basic height restriction. Look at the pic of the bus, it's REALLY tall. Duh

Delmer Wilburn

God bless him and the family. I am a chauffeur, I'm also borned and raised in L.A., and I've never, ever even seen one of those double-deckers on the freeway, even without passengers.

whood... whoodathunk

We rode one in NY city that was driving quite fast and there are low signs and street signals that could easily have done the same thing.  We had an employee on top that kept telling people to sit down, but many didn't speak English and didn't understand.  It was dangerous and terrifying.  

Jeana... JeanaJaybird

Wow! Sounds like this young man's family has some money coming their way. Unfortunately, that won't bring their son back .. what a horrible occurrence. Hug your children tight, folks.

Jonah Kyle

EVERY company that utilizes vehicles that require a commercial driving license classification are required to have a list of every potential clearance locations in the region. Certainly, they would have had a list of every bridge on the 405. To be blunt, if the overpass hit him while he was standing, I don't understand how it wouldn't be absolutely terrifying to be SITTING while the concrete overpass whizzes by your head a foor or two above you at speeds of at least 60 miles an hour.

While I'm not a big proponent of over-regulation, this particular incident screams of a complete audit of such companies around the country. It is absolutely amazing that this hasn't been foreseen or experienced before.

Of course, I may not be completely informed. I would imagine that the upper deck is only used during strictly-regulated tours on routes that are predetermined both for location and for vehicle speed, and this protocol was blatantly disregarded.

nonmember avatar Cmonman

I think the word "intoxicating" is appropriate here given that the kids had been drinking. Wonder why no one has reported this yet?

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