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Federal investigators en route to site of deadly tour bus crash

February 4, 2013 |  8:17 am

Federal investigators are en route to the site of a bus crash near Yucaipa that killed at least eight people and injured dozens more Sunday night, officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday morning that it had dispatched a team "with expertise in motor carrier operations and survival factors" to investigate the incident, which occurred about 6:30 p.m. Sunday on California Highway 38.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez said Monday morning that at least eight people were killed in the crash — which also involved a truck and sedan — and more than 35 injured.

PHOTOS: Highway 38 tour bus crash

Authorities remained at the scene Monday morning as coroner's officials removed bodies and investigators collected evidence and examined the debris strewn across the roadway.

Lopez said it was too early to determine what caused the crash. The driver had been interviewed, he added.

A Tijuana-based tour company commented on the incident early Monday, saying: "We deeply regret this happened."

The statement, written in Spanish, was posted on a Facebook page for InterBus Tours, which also said that the company was "working to support our customers and family who unfortunately had an accident down the mountains of Big Bear."

The statement said InterBus personnel were in contact with crash investigators and representatives of the Mexican Consulate. It did not provide details on the number of passengers involved or a potential cause of the crash.

The company's Facebook page advertises travel packages from Tijuana to Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, Las Vegas and area vineyards. On Friday, it advertised two upcoming trips: one to Big Bear on Sunday and another to Knott's on Monday.

Authorities confirmed that the bus departed from Tijuana early Sunday and appeared to be heading back there when it crashed.

The crash was so severe that it was difficult for rescue workers to immediately identify exactly how many people were killed and took firefighters more than two hours to extricate all the injured. Area hospitals reported receiving critically injured patients but said Monday morning that other patients had already been discharged.

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-- Kate Mather

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