A tour bus crossed into oncoming traffic and hit two cars head-on, killing one woman and injuring 26 others in the Southern California high desert, according to the California Highway Patrol.
It's unclear why the tour bus crossed into the westbound lanes of State Route 58 near Kramer, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, CHP Officer Brian Benson said. There was no remarkable weather in the area at the time of the collision, he said.
The woman killed was 55 years old and was in one of the two cars the bus hit, Benson said.
Nine people suffered life-threatening injuries in Monday afternoon's crash, and 17 others were taken to hospitals with injuries that weren't considered to be life-threatening, said Eric Sherwin, a San Bernardino County Fire spokesman.
About a half-dozen agencies have responded to the remote crash, including fire departments from San Bernardino and Kern counties. The injured were transported by ambulances to various hospitals in the region, Sherwin told KPCC. Weather conditions made it difficult for helicopters to get to the scene of the accident.
"If we can't get the helicopters there safely, we're gonna offer ground ambulances," Sherwin said. "Ground ambulances provide excellent treatment, it just takes longer to get people to the hospitals."
Benson said the bus, owned by Arcadia, California-based A&F Tours Inc., seats about 30 passengers. The company didn't respond to a message seeking comment.
The company's vehicles have been inspected 22 times in the last two years, and a vehicle was taken out of service during one of the inspections, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records. The company did not report any crashes in the last two years, the records showed.
Duane DeBruyne, a spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said the agency would assist in a post-crash assessment, including an examination of both the vehicle and the bus company's safety record.
Video footage at the scene posted online shows debris strewn all over the side of the highway as firefighters worked to remove the victims from the cars. The footage also shows firefighters placing a woman in a neck brace and carrying another on a stretcher, a woman comforting a puppy, and a man holding a child. The front end of the bus was badly damaged.
The highway was closed in both directions.