PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (WIAT) — The investigation continues Monday morning into the deadly bus crash in California. 13 people were killed and dozens more were hurt in the crash near Palm Springs.
“In almost 35 years, I’ve never been to a crash where there has been 13 confirmed fatal accidents,” Jim Abele of California Highway Patrol said. “A 1996 MCI passenger bus transporting 44 passengers struck the rear of a freight-liner truck with a trailer in the number three lane.”
The tour bus was returning to Los Angeles from a casino early Sunday morning. Survivors said most of the passengers were sleeping at the time of the crash.
“The majority of the people who were killed were in the front section of the bus,” Abele said.
The bus driver was also killed. The two vehicles were reportedly so mangled that rescuers had to use a crane to search for victims.
In addition to those killed, dozens more passengers were injured and taken to area hospitals.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The tractor trailer and other vehicles had slowed down due to maintenance on the roadway, according to police.
“There didn’t appear to be breaking skid marks from the bus,” Abele said. “I will tell you that the speed of the bus was so significant that when it hit the back of the big rig, the trailer, the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus.”
It is not known at this time if alcohol, drugs or fatigue played in a role in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to California to investigate.