This Sunday 13 people died in a fatal tour bus accident near Palm Springs, California. The tour bus was making its way from a casino. Tragically, it crashed into a semi-tractor trailer. The accident involved more than just 13 fatalities. Also, 31 people sustained injuries during the crash.
13 Victims and 31 Injured
Among those who died in the accident was the bus driver. The other driver involved in the crash, who drove the truck was just injured.
Jim Abele is the Chief of the California Highway Patrol Division. He gave a press conference regarding the tragic accident. According to the details he gave, the 31 people who were injured are being taken care of. Their injuries range from moderate to minor.
The tour bus was a 1996 MCI bus that was operated by USA Holiday. It was going back to Los Angeles. The tourists on the bus had been to the Red Earth Casino close to Salton Sea.
The accident took place at 5:17 a.m. local time. The tour bus was going west on Interstate 10. At the moment, investigators don’t know the cause of the crash. The California Highway Patrol as well as the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident. So far, it is not clear whether factors such as alcohol, drugs or fatigue played a part in the tour bus accident.
Investigators Looking into the Causes of the Accident
According to the California Highway Patrol, the bus was not travelling at great speed.
“The speed of the bus was so significant that when it hit the back of the big rig … the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus.”
Said Jim Abele.
Survivors of the tour bus accident say that most passengers were sleeping at the time of the crash. First responders found the 13 victims in their seats. Most of the people who died were in the front part of the bus. The force of impact as the front part of the bus hit the trailer was significant.
The identities of the victims remained largely unknown. First responders proceeded to a “swift extraction” procedure and triage. So the victims were not identified yet. However, the California Highway Patrol believe that all the passengers on the bus were adults.
The number of fatalities was high for an accident. The California Highway Patrol chief remarked on that.
“In almost 35 years I’ve never been to a crash where there’s been 13 confirmed fatalities. So, It’s tough. It’s tough for all of us.”
Said Jim Abele.
The tour bus was the only one that the holiday company operated. It had passed inspection in 2014, in 2015 and in April of 2016, most recently. So it supposedly did not have any mechanical problems.
According to the California Highway Patrol there was no fog at the time of the accident and there was good visibility on the road. However, traffic had slowed down. There was a maintenance crew that was putting up wires across the road. Due to their work, the trailer slowed down. The tour bus was travelling faster and it hit the trailer from behind.
Image source: here.