Fatal California bus crash under investigation

nc_buscrash1024_1500x845Desert Hot Springs, Calif. (CNN) — 13 people were killed when their tour bus crashed into the back of a truck on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, California, early Sunday.

California Highway Patrol Chief Jim Abele said, “In almost 35 years I’ve never been to a crash were there’s been 13 confirmed fatal accidents, so it’s tough.  It’s tough for all of us.”

It happened early Sunday morning — on the westbound side of the 10 freeway near Desert Hot Springs.

A USA Holiday tour bus, carrying 44 passengers, rammed into the rear of a big rig. The freeway backed up for miles west of Indian Canyon.

Rachel and Christopher Williams, both truck drivers, say they see accidents all the time — but nothing like this, “That bus is halfway into that trailer. That’s only half of the bus you’re seeing. That’s either a high rate of speed or a stopped truck on the road.”

At a news conference Sunday afternoon — the California Highway Patrol said the crash killed 13 people and injured 31 others. Among the dead, the driver of that tour bus.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. “The bus had been inspected by Highway Patrol inspectors in 2014, 2015 and as late as April 2016 no mechanical deficiencies were detected,” said Chief Abele. It passed all 3 inspections.

The tour bus left the Red Earth Casino by the Salton Sea and on its way back to Los Angeles where their trip first started.

Trauma surgeons say the injured victims suffered mostly facial traumas. That’s because the bus didn’t have seatbelts.

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