AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Tuesday 5 February 2013
Last update 4 February 2013 7:42 pm
LOS ANGELES: At least eight people were killed and more than 30 were injured in a multiple vehicle accident in southern California that involved a passenger bus from Mexico, officials said.
The accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. local time (0230 GMT Monday) in a rural area north of of the town of Yucaipa.
The bus, operated by InterBus Tours, a Tijuana, Mexico-based company, apparently hit two other vehicles and rolled over, local fire department chief Ronald Walls told reporters.
In all, 43 people were involved in the crash, 38 passengers and the driver on the bus and two people in each of the other vehicles, according to Walls.
It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate all the injured from the wreckage. In all, 27 were taken to area hospitals, at least six of them in critical condition. Some of the injured were children.
A representative of the Mexican consulate was at the scene.
According to media reports, the bus was headed back to Tijuana after visiting Big Bear Lake, a popular mountain ski resort northeast of San Bernardino.
Witness Betty Harvey, a local resident, was driving behind the bus and thus was one of the first to arrive at the scene.
“People were waving and screaming,” she said. “It was quite horrific.” Details of the tragedy remain sketchy.
“It happened so fast, I don’t know how it all happened,” one unnamed passenger told The San Bernardino Sun newspaper. “This was supposed to be a good day out with my companions and then this happened.” InterBus official Jodi Garcia said initial examinations point to brake failure as the cause of the crash.
“The information that we have is that the bus’s brakes failed and the accident occurred,” Garcia said.