Updated: 7 dead in tour bus crash in San Bernardino Co.; driver says brakes failed (Photos, video, map)

54434 full

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: California authorities lower death toll in bus crash

California authorities have lowered the death toll in a tour bus crash from eight to seven.
       
The California Highway Patrol and a San Bernardino County coroner's investigator said Monday it was initially believed two bodies had remained inside inaccessible wreckage, but there turned out to be only one.
       
The bus carrying a group from Tijuana, Mexico, to the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles collided with two other vehicles Sunday night. Debris and body parts created a scene of horrific carnage.
       
The bus could not be entered until Monday because the wreckage was perched precariously off the side of a road.
       
Dozens of people were injured, some critically.

— Tami Abdollah/AP

UPDATE 11:21 a.m. Relatives are beginning to share stories of the survivors of a fatal tour bus crash in San Bernardino County.

Diana Maldonado, of San Diego, was on the tour bus with a group of friends returning from a day of fun in Big Bear Sunday evening.

 The 28-year-old was thrown from the bus during the crash, said her mother, Maria Salazar.

“I was told that the bus overturned. I then talked to one of her friends [Miriam] who told me, crying, that she did not know what happened to my daughter because she was taken in a helicopter,” Salazar said. “Well, at that point, I thought the worst.”

Maldonado survived and is being treated at Loma Linda University Medical Center for injuries to her back, face and head. Her mother and sister have driven up from San Diego to be with her.

 Maldonado was with a group of seven friends, one of whom is missing.

 Salazar said she felt sad and desperate when she first got the news about her daughter.

 “You let them go to have fun and then to have this happen,” the mother said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the company "has been cited repeatedly in recent years for problems, including brake and tire issues."

UPDATED 8:36 a.m.: The company that organized a bus trip that ended with a deadly crash in the mountains of Southern California has offered its condolences to all of those who have been affected.

InterBus Tours of Tijuana, Mexico, says in a Facebook posting Monday that the company feels deeply about the accident and is working with the local Mexican Consulate to help families.

At least eight people were killed and more than three dozen others were injured in the Sunday evening crash which involved two other vehicles on State Route 38 about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The tour group was returning from a trip to Big Bear Lake, a winter destination for skiing.

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team of investigators.

UPDATED 6:22 a.m.:  At least eight and as many as 10 people were killed and more than three dozen injured when a bus careened out of control while traveling down a Southern California mountain road, struck a car, flipped and plowed into a pickup, authorities said.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez said the number of eight confirmed deaths was expected to rise because the coroner was just starting to remove bodies from the mangled vehicle and also remove the bodies of those who were ejected, which were covered by yellow blankets.

"It appears speed was a factor in this collision," Lopez said. Investigators will determine if mechanical failure or driver error was to blame, he said. The driver survived.

Authorities had not yet obtained the passenger list from inside the bus, Lopez said.

The accident occurred around 6:30 p.m. Sunday about 80 miles east of Los Angeles and left State Route 38 littered with debris, the bus sideways across the two lanes and its front end crushed.

The bus was returning to Tijuana, Mexico, Lopez said. It rear-ended a Saturn sedan and hit a Ford pickup, he said. One person in the pickup was injured. The fate of the passengers in the car was not clear, but at least two people were in it, Lopez said.

California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant said the scene was shocking.

"It's really a mess up there with body parts," she said.

The bus driver told investigators the bus suffered brake problems as it headed down the mountain, Lopez said.

Lettering on the bus indicated that it was operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC, a company based in National City, Calif. Federal transportation records show that the company is licensed to carry passengers for interstate travel and that it had no crashes in the past two years.

A call to the company was not immediately returned.

Jordi Garcia, a manager for InterBus Tours, said his company ran Sunday's trip. He told U-T San Diego that 38 people departed Tijuana at 5 a.m. for a day of skiing at Big Bear.

"The information that we have is that the bus' brakes failed and the accident occurred," he said.

Route 38 runs through the San Bernardino National Forest and leads to Big Bear. The accident occurred as the bus was headed south and leaving the forest.

Patients were taken to several area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Monday morning had two women in critical condition and two other patients in stable condition. Two other women were discharged early Monday.

Redlands Community Hospital had one patient in critical condition and five other patients ranging from minor to moderate condition with injuries ranging from cuts to broken bones, spokeswoman Nikyah Thomas-Pfeiffer said.

Loma Linda Medical Center had a man and a girl under age 18 in critical condition, a man in serious condition, and a woman and a girl under 18 in fair condition, spokesman Herbert Atienza said.

The California crash comes less than a day after a bus carrying 42 high school students and their chaperones slammed into an overpass in Boston. Massachusetts state police said 35 people were injured and that the driver had directed the bus onto a road with a height limit.


View Larger Map

PREVIOUSLY: The company that operated the bus involved in a deadly collision in the mountains of Southern California on Sunday had not had any crashes in the past two years.

Lettering on the bus indicated that it was operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC, a company based in National City, Calif. Federal transportation records show the company is licensed to carry passengers for interstate travel and had an accident-free record for at least two years.

A call to the company wasn't immediately returned.

Jordi Garcia, a manager for InterBus Tours, says his company ran Sunday's trip. He told U-T San Diego that 38 people departed Tijuana at 5 a.m. for a day of skiing at Big Bear.

California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant called the scene shocking.

She said, "It's really a mess up there with body parts."

Previously 9:44 p.m. The Associated Press reported that eight people died when a tour bus crashed with a pickup truck on a rural mountain highway in Southern California on Sunday night,  and that dozens of others were injured, authorities said.

The collision happened around 6:30 p.m. and included the tour bus, a pickup truck pulling a trailer, and a sedan, said CHP Officer Mario Lopez. He confirmed late Sunday that eight people died and many more were injured in the mountain highway crash about 80 miles east of Los Angeles near the town of Forest Falls.

San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Eric Sherwin said 27 people were treated at the scene. He said injuries varied from minor to life-threatening.

Update 9:05 p.m.: A tour bus crashed with a pickup truck on a rural mountain highway in Southern California on Sunday night, killing multiple people, a fire department spokesman told the Associated Press.

Other reports first came in of an overturned bus at about 6:30 p.m. near the town of Forest Falls, which is about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, San Bernardino County fire spokesman Eric Sherwin told the AP.

Sherwin said 27 patients have been treated at the scene, but it is not clear how many have been killed. The injuries range from minor to life-threatening, and patients were still being extracted from the bus more than an hour after the crash, Sherwin said. (story continues below video window.)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

The bus crashed on a mountainous stretch of the two-lane Highway 38. There was also a truck involved, Sherwin said, but it was not clear how.

At least seven ambulances were called to the scene, and patients were being taken to several different hospitals, fire officials said.

Numerous calls began flooding the California Highway Patrol and San Bernardino County fire dispatch lines soon after the crash.

Community Hospital of San Bernardino told the AP that it had received one patient from the crash, but it didn't have information on the patient's condition.

Sherwin did not know where the bus was headed or coming from, but Highway 38 leads to Big Bear, a popular area that's home to a ski resort and other recreation.

TV cameras showed the white bus sitting upright. Sherwin could not verify whether the bus was pushed upright or did not overturn.

The California crash comes less than a day after a bus carrying 42 high school students and their chaperones slammed into an overpass in Boston. Massachusetts state police said 35 people were injured and that the driver had directed the bus onto a road with a height limit.

Previously: The San Bernardino County Fire Department is reporting at least three people dead and an estimated 27 people injured in a crash involving a tour bus.

A tour bus has rolled over on Highway 38 near Forest Falls, Calif., in San Bernardino County, with reports of multiple deaths and injuries, according to a tweet from the San Bernardino County Fire Department Sunday evening.

We'll update the story as we get more details. 

Do you know anything about this accident? Please comment below or tweet us @KPCC.

RT @CHPsouthern: Attention Media/Assignment Desks: Question regarding fatal bus crash in Yucaipa please call Inland Div. PIO. DM for number.Nancy Casanova
RT @KTLA: BREAKING NEWS: Deadly Tour Bus Crash Near Yucaipa - Watch our live streaming video http://ktla.com/liveAndre Verzaal
Huge accident on highway 38. Pray for the people in the accident and the ones who lost there lives.Travis McGrand
KTLA live at the deadly tour bus accident in San Bernardino County: http://WWW.KTLA.COM/LIVE Highway 38 closed. http://pic.twitter.com/p87TsRFYEd Joyce
Crazy accident on highway 38 right by my house! Your bus crashed and hit a car. Multitouch people ejected from the bus... Wow. Please pray.Brian Derryberry
Highway 38 is currently closed in both directions at Mentone due to a multi-vehicle accident also involving a bus.... http://fb.me/ENDtBE0pKBHR 93.3FM
Breaking #Mentone (North Highway 38 NORTH & SOUTH at Bryant: A crash involving an overturned tour bus has (cont) http://tl.gd/ku3bof"djB_MonEy
Bus rollover reported on Highway 38 near Bryant: Authorities are reporting a bus rollover on Highway 38 north of... http://dlvr.it/2tyMDgBig Bear Newsdiv>

 

blog comments powered by Disqus