A bus operated by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express, Inc. crashed on Wednesday at around 2:15 am.
The incident is reported to have occurred just west of Blythe, Calif. near the Arizona border on a section of Interstate 10.
The bus was carrying 32 passengers and traveling from El Paso to Los Angeles.
Terri Kasinga of the California Department of Transportation said in a statement that the accident was due to a tractor trailer jackknifing onto the median.
The truck was carrying a load of steel pipes that spilled across all lanes of the highway, affecting traffic in both directions.
Authorities believe that the bus either struck the pipes and turned over or that the driver of the bus swerved in an attempt to avoid the pipes and the bus overturned as a result.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) May 21, 2014
After falling over on its side, the bus slid across the shoulder of the road and then 50 feet down an embankment.
Kasinga said that four of the bus’s passengers were killed. Several other passengers in critical condition were transported by helicopter to nearby hospitals.
The bus company sent small charter buses to transport the remaining uninjured passengers.
Passengers removed from crashed bus in California: Authorities say all passengers have been removed from a bus… http://t.co/LvjfQ3GHj1
— WLOX (@WLOX) May 21, 2014
The bus crash was not the only accident to occur following the tractor trailer dumping pipes all over the roadway.
Four different vehicles which were all headed eastbound on I-10 also crashed, resulting in several individuals being taken to hospitals for treatment.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) May 21, 2014
Kasinga announced that all lanes of the interstate would be closed until at least Wednesday afternoon. It’s possible the roads may be shut down longer.
Traffic on the interstate near the accident was reportedly backed up for miles in both directions. Drivers who usually the main artery through the Lower Colorado River Valley are encouraged to use alternate routes.
— RYOT NEWS (@RYOTnews) May 21, 2014
The California Highway Patrol have stated that they are presently investigating the accident and working to determine what caused the tractor trailer to jackknife.
Image via YouTube