YUCAIPA, Calif. - The company that organized a bus trip that ended with a deadly crash in the mountains of Southern California offered its condolences Monday to all of those affected.
InterBus Tours of Tijuana, Mexico, said in a Facebook posting the company felt deeply about the accident and was working with the local Mexican Consulate to help families.
The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team of investigators.
The California Highway Patrol says the scene at a tour bus crash was so chaotic they first thought 8 people were killed in the crash, but have since downgraded that number to 7. 38 other passengers were injured in the crash.
The bus driver told investigators the bus had brake problems as it headed down State Route 38, which runs through the San Bernardino National Forest to Big Bear. The bus was leaving the forest on its way back to Tijuana, Mexico.
The accident occurred around 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Highway 38 when the bus went out of control, struck one vehicle, flipped and hit a pickup truck pulling a trailer.
CHP officer Mario Lopez says 38 people were taken to hospitals, but investigators haven't been able to get on the bus to obtain the passenger list.
Yellow blankets covered the bodies of those ejected.
The bus was returning to Tijuana after a day trip to a ski area in Big Bear. Its operator told U-T San Diego that the brakes failed. Lopez says speed was a factor.
The driver survived.
The company linked to a tour bus involved in a deadly crash in Southern California failed more than a third of federal vehicle safety inspections in the last two years.
U.S. government records show that buses operated by the firm Scapadas Magicas of National City, Calif., flunked 36 percent of random inspections on their vehicles- in some cases for brake and tire problems.
That's higher than the national average for similar companies - a 21 percent failure rate.
The California company had an overall "satisfactory" rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - but records show three-quarters of similar companies had better safety records.