13 Killed, 31 Injured in Tour Bus Crash in California - NBC 10 Philadelphia
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

13 Killed, 31 Injured in Tour Bus Crash in California

It appeared that the passengers were sleeping right before the crash.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured after a tour bus slammed into a semi-truck in the Palm Springs area Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (Published Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016)

    In a horrific early morning crash, a tour bus slammed into the back of a truck on Interstate 10 north of Palm Springs before sunrise Sunday, killing 13 and injuring 31, authorities said.

    The Riverside County Coroner's office confirmed 13 people aboard the bus were killed, including the driver, in the disastrous crash that shut down the entire westbound 10 Freeway west of Indian Canyon Road. Traffic was being diverted off the freeway at the Indian Avenue offramp. The freeway reopened around 4:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

    Rescuers continued to search the wreckage for more victims in the early stages of the crash. The first images from the scene showed firefighters using ladders to get into the passenger compartment of the bus, which had been peeled back from the vehicle's undercarriage about one third of its length. 

    The front of the bus was demolished as the back of the semi was shredded from the monstrous force of the crash.

    Protesters Removed From Senate Health Care Bill Hearing

    [NATL] Health Care Bill Protesters Forcibly Removed From Senate Finance Committee Room

    Protesters chanting "No cuts for Medicaid, save our liberty!" were forcibly removed from the Senate Finance Committee room Monday as lawmakers attempted to convene a hearing into the Republican Graham Cassidy health care bill.

    (Published 5 hours ago)

    It wasn't immediately clear what caused the collision, but the tour bus was traveling much faster than the semi, CHP Chief Jim Abele said at a news conference.

    The trailer of the semi was lodged 15 feet into the front of the bus, Abele said.

    The bus, owned by LA-based USA Holliday Bus, had departed the Red Earth Casino in Salton City and was en route to a location in Los Angeles when the crash was reported to CHP at 5:17 a.m.

    The CHP said there was no indication that the bus slammed on the brakes before plowing into the back of the semi-truck, leading investigators to believe fatigue may have been a factor. They were not ruling out some type of medical emergency on the driver's behalf, such as a heart attack.

    The driver, along with the deceased passengers, were not yet identified to the public.

    It appeared that all passengers aboard had been asleep at the time of impact. While they had likely all been seated properly, many ended up in the front end of the bus due to the force of impact, Abele said.

    Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

    Abele said it was not likely that the bus had seat belts.

    "In almost 35 years, I've never been to a crash where there's been 13 confirmed fatal accidents," Abele said. "It's tough for all of us," he added. 

    CHP reported that 31 people had been injured. Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and JFK Memorial Hospital all received and treated patients from the crash, ranging from five critical patients to others with minor injuries.

    A trauma surgeon said the injuries included facial trauma but few broken bones, which is unusual for a high-speed vehicle wreck.

    Dr. Ricard Townsend of Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs told reporters Sunday that the bus struck the collapsible trailer of a semi-truck, sending many of the likely unrestrained passengers flying through the air.

    He called the widespread facial injuries a hallmark of those not wearing seat belts. He says the injuries indicate the bus was slowing down at the point of impact.

    Lebron James: Trump Trying to 'Divide Us'

    [NATL] Lebron James: Trump Trying to 'Divide Us'

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke Monday about the NFL protest saying President Trump is trying to divide the nation.

    (Published 6 hours ago)

    Crews used tow trucks to pry the bus from the back of the semi-truck before clearing the bus from the area. 

    The semi-truck driver also suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment. 

    He told CHP he wasn't sure at first what had happened, and that he felt a "thump" in the back of the trailer, which was hauling food products. 

    The bus had been inspected as recently as April 2016, in addition to being inspected in 2014 and 2015, and did not have mechanical issues, CHP said.

    Because the investigation was still in its early stages, not all of the victims had been identified. CHP encouraged family members to reach out if they had not heard from their loved ones. 

    Family members were directed to the Riverside County Fire Department facility at 800 S. Redlands Ave. in Perris, or to call (951) 443-2300. The fire department was setting up a crisis response center there.

    North Korean Minister: Trump Tweet Declared War

    [NATL] North Korean Foreign Minister: 'The United States Declared War'

    North Korea's top diplomat says President Donald Trump's tweet that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" amounted to a declaration of war against his country.

    Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters Monday that what he called Trump's "declaration of war" gives North Korea "every right" under the U.N. Charter to take countermeasures, "including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country."

    Ri Yong also said that "all options will be on the operations table" for the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Ri referred to Trump's tweet Saturday that said: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"

    (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    NBC4's I-Team has investigated tour bus companies in 2014, and Hollywood tour bus companies in 2016.