Bus crash victims removed from the scene as more details emerge about accident
One person was killed in the accident that occurred about 11:50 a.m. Monday as the bus was traveling westbound down a steep and slippery Highway 189, said Officer Mario Lopez of the California Highway Patrol. The bus collided with another vehicle and went over a small embankment, slid down about 25 feet and smashed into a 50-foot cedar, crumpling the cab of the bus.
There were 22 people on the bus and two in the other vehicle, Lopez said. Special tools were used to cut out bus seats and extricate some of the victims.
The injured were taken to Loma Linda Medical Center and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. Ten people were listed in critical condition, and the others suffered only minor injuries, Lopez said.
A man who was passing by and spotted the crash told KNX 1070 radio that the bus went down the mountain about 50 feet, coming to rest at a 45-degree angle.
“I hear kids screaming, there’s this bus down,” he said. “Oh, God, it was terrible.”
He said he helped rescue two girls, one with a broken leg. He described the other girl as “dazed and confused.”
“A lot of them were crying, but this little girl, she’s saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.' She’s trying to apologize,” he told the radio station. He said he tried to console her.
“I didn’t do anything here special,” he said. “The pain and the blood I seen .... I guess it’s just getting to me.”
The bus, which was from the Light of Love Mission Church in Pasadena, went over the embankment and into a stand of cedars and white firs, authorities said. It came to a stop about five feet from a small snow-fed stream.
Church Deacon Steven Lee said a group of middle- and high school students were returning from a weekend church retreat in the mountains when the accident occurred.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
-- Phil Willon in Crestline and Victoria Kim in Pasadena
Photo: A CHP investigator surveys the scene down a hillside where a church bus crashed, killing one person, along Highway 189 in the San Bernardino mountains. Credit: Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times