The operator of a tour bus owned by a San Diego-area company issued an apology today in the aftermath of a multiple-fatality weekend collision involving the vehicle on a mountain road in Mentone.
Officials with Tijuana-based InterBus Tours & Charters stated on their Facebook page, in Spanish and English, that they "deeply regret" the deaths of at least nine people and the injuries suffered by about three dozen others Sunday evening while "coming down from the mountains of Big Bear" on Highway 38 in Yucaipa.
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The bus, owned by Scapadas Magicas of National City, hit a car and a pickup truck and overturned at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol and fire department officials.
Interbus Tours & Charters was leasing the bus from Scapadas Magicas, according to an Interbus official.
In all, 43 people were involved in the crash -- 38 passengers and the driver on the bus and two each in the other vehicles -- according to authorities. A triage area was set up to treat the patients at the scene before they were taken to hospitals, some with life-threatening injuries.
The number of confirmed deaths was likely to rise, CHP public-affairs Officer Mario Lopez told reporters this morning.
Initial evidence suggested that the brakes on the tour coach gave out, an InterBus official told news crews.
Scapadas Magicas failed in excess of one-third of its government vehicle- safety inspections in the past two years, sometimes due to problems with brakes and tires, according to published reports. Its safety history ranks in the bottom one-quarter of comparable U.S. companies, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show.