Tour bus crashes into rig, dozens of casualties reported

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - A tour bus hit a big rig on Interstate 10 of California highway, killing at least 13 passengers at 5 am on Sunday morning. More than 31 other passengers were taken to Palm ...


• The bus belongs to USA Holiday

• Specialised unit to investigate I-10 crash

• Five passengers taken to hospital remain critical, three other in serious condition

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - A tour bus hit a big rig on Interstate 10 of California highway, killing at least 13 passengers at 5 am on Sunday morning. More than 31 other passengers were taken to Palm Springs hospital with serious injuries. The rig driver, however, was unhurt in the incident as it hit the back of the semi- truck's trailer.

CHP Officer Hamilton confirmed, “There are approximately 31 passengers on the bus that were transported with minor to serious injuries.”

14 passengers were admitted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Out of them - five were in critical condition and three were seriously injured, while six others suffered minor injuries, according to hospital director of marketing Rich Ramhoff.

Following the accident, all westbound lanes of I-10 were closed and traffic was diverted. CHP officials suggested that the freeway could remain closed until 4 pm.  

While the cause of the accident has not yet been determined, dozens of firefighters rushed to the spot and used chainsaw to break open the vehicle. A tow truck lifted the trailer as they tried to pull the big rig off the bus. Then firefighters used ladders to take out victims.  

“The whole front of the bus up to about the second or third row of seats was completely crushed into the left rear side of the semi truck. By the time I got there were at least a dozen firefighters climbing into the passenger bus pulling people out," said a passerby Poet Aleman, who was driving west on I-10 at the time.

CHP Officer Stephanie Hamilton said, “We know there are multiple fatalities. We cannot give a final amount, but that number is going to change.” He also confirmed that a specialised unit will be brought to investigate the crash.

The tour bus was operated by a Los Angeles-based tour company, USA holiday and the bus driver was one of the owners of the company. Online records suggest that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gave the company a "satisfactory" safety rating in 2007. But California Public Utilities Commission records suggest that in 2008, the bus and its owner were mentioned for violations on state regulations.

Sunday’s crash was one of the deadliest in years. In April 2014, ten people lost their lives when a FedEx tractor slammed into a school bus on Interstate 4. The NTSB appealed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration following the crash to have secondary doors as emergency exits on new bus designs.

 

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