A tour bus crashed into the trailer of an 18-wheeler at 5:17 a.m. Sunday morning, killing 13 and injuring 31 more. The crash occurred just outside of Palm Springs, a popular resort town in Southern California. The bus was carrying passengers from a casino in Thermal back to Los Angeles, and the driver of the bus was killed in the accident.
It’s unclear what could have caused the crash; the traffic was light and visibility was high. Early reports suggest that the truck had slowed for maintenance crews, and the bus slammed into the back of it. Investigators with California Highway Patrol have stated that there was no attempt to apply the brakes before impact. Whether drugs, alcohol or fatigue played a role has yet to be determined.
Most passengers were asleep at the time of the accident, so eyewitness accounts may be hazy. After the accident, Interstate 10 was shut down for ten hours. Reports show that the bus had been inspected this past April, and had passed with no concerns. It’s uncertain whether the bus was equipped with safety belts, but most of the victims were found in their seats.
The majority of those who died were sitting in the front of the bus. Those towards the back sustained a myriad of cuts, bruises and broken bones. Survivors said that Good Samaritans helped them exit the bus before emergency crews could arrive. Injuries were so intense that a triage was set up on the side of the road before victims were transported to local hospitals.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be sending investigators to determine the cause of the crash. It was reported that there was no data recorder aboard the bus, so it will be impossible to tell exactly how fast it was going at the time of the crash. The bus itself was owned by USA Holiday, a one-bus-one-driver fleet operated out of Alhambra. Neighbors of the driver have said he was hard-working and always kind. He leaves behind a wife and son.
Featured Image By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons