POSTED: 06:32 p.m. HST, Feb 03, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 04:59 a.m. HST, Feb 04, 2013
YUCAIPA, Calif. » A tour bus collided with a car and pickup truck, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens of others Sunday night on a Southern California mountain highway, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez confirmed the deaths and said 38 people were taken to hospitals with injuries. He also said the bus driver reported having brake problems as it headed down the mountain on two-lane State Route 38, rear-ending a sedan then flipping over and hitting a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer.
The bus was carrying a tour group from Tijuana, Mexico, and a representative from the Mexican consulate was at the grim crash scene, California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant said.
"It's really a mess up there with body parts," Profant said.
Rescuers were still searching the wreckage for victims hours later. Television footage showed the bus sitting upright but turned sideways on the road.
At least seven ambulances were called to the scene, and patients were taken to several hospitals.
The injured were rushed to several area hospitals.
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center said four women had been admitted from the crash and their conditions were still being determined. Redland Community Hospital said it received one person in critical condition and one with minor injuries, while two more were en route with minor injuries. Community Hospital of San Bernardino said it had received one patient with undetermined injuries, while St. Bernadine Medical Center said it had two patients, whose injuries were being assessed.
The purpose of the tour was not immediately clear, but Highway 38 leads to Big Bear, a popular area that's home to a ski resort and other recreational locations.
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 passenger for interstate travel and that it had no crashes in the past two years.
A call to the company was not immediately returned.
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.
Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles, and Amanda Kwan and Bob Seavey in Phoenix contributed to this report.