8 Dead, Over 38 Injured As Tour Bus Crashes On US Highway; Cause Of Accident Yet To Be Ascertained

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By Sreeja V N | February 4, 2013 6:50 PM EST

At least eight people were killed and another 38 were injured after a tour bus collided with two other buses and flipped over in the mountains of South California, Sunday night, authorities said.

The accident that occurred around 6.30 p.m. Sunday, involved three vehicles - a tour bus carrying a group of people from Tijuana, Mexico, a sedan and a pickup truck pulling a trailer on Highway 38 near Mentone about 70 miles (113 km) east of Los Angeles.

According to an Associated Press report quoting California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez, the bus driver reported having braking problems when the bus came down the mountain, first hitting the sedan and then flipping over and crashing the truck.

"Parties in the tour bus were ejected from the bus...We have multiple fatalities on the scene," fire department spokesman Eric Sherwin told Reuters.

However, he said the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.

“Investigation into the cause hasn’t even begun, because patient treatment and transport takes priority,” Sherwin said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Initial reports stated that at least 8 were dead and over 38 people were injured of which 27 people were taken to local hospital for treatment. Several others were treated at the accident site. Injuries varied from minor to life-threatening and about nine ambulances were called to the scene to take the patients to hospitals, Sherwin said.

Several passengers were ejected from the bus while many others were trapped in the wreckage. Rescue workers were unable to gauge the exact number of fatalities as operations to pull out victims from the wreckage continued.

All fatalities were reported from the bus, which had 38 passengers on board including the driver and a cleaner.

The highway is one of the three roads leading to Big Bear Lake, a recreational area popular with skiers, Sherwin said.

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