At least 13 people are reported to have died after a major collision between a coach and a truck on a freeway near Palm Springs, California, News Agencies report.A TV station affiliated to NBC also reported that 31 others had been injured.
Blankets were used to cover bodies at the side of the highway. Pictures from the scene showed the front of the coach had been destroyed, as had the back of the lorry. All those who died had been on the coach. The truck driver was apparently unhurt.
The accident, on westbound Interstate 10, happened before dawn on Sunday. The Desert Sun newspaper reported that the injured had been taken to three hospitals in the area, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Rich Ramhoff, from Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, said the hospital had taken 14 patients, five of whom were in a critical condition. Three others were in a serious condition, while the remaining six had minor injuries. All were adults.
Two other hospitals treated 16 others – all with minor injuries. The Desert Sun said firefighters had struggled to reach those on the bus, using ladders to reach up and pull them out.
A tow truck was brought in to lift the lorry’s trailer off the damaged bus. The coach apparently belongs to a tour company called USA Holiday, based in Alhambra.
The paper added that a passenger treated for minor injuries said the vehicle had travelled from Los Angeles to Red Earth Casino in Thermal, and had been making its return trip on Sunday morning.