Tour firm apologizes as Feds launch probe of deadly bus crash
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A Baja California tour company issued an apology Monday
in the aftermath of a San Bernardino County crash that killed at least eight
people and injured dozens of others aboard a bus leased from a San Diego-area
Officials with Tijuana-based InterBus Tours & Charters stated on their
Facebook page, in Spanish and English, that they “deeply regret” the accident
involving a group of their customers “coming down from the mountains of Big
Bear” on Highway 38 in Yucaipa on Sunday evening.
The bus, owned by Scapadas Magicas of National City, hit a car and a
pickup truck and overturned about 6:30 p.m., according to the California
Highway Patrol and fire department officials.
In all, 43 people were involved in the crash — 38 passengers and the
driver on the bus, and two each in the other vehicles. A triage area was set up
to treat the patients at the scene before they were taken to hospitals, some
with life-threatening injuries.
The number of deaths was likely to rise, CHP public-affairs Officer
Mario Lopez told reporters this morning.
Initial evidence suggested that the brakes on the tour coach gave out,
according to an official with InterBus, which was leasing the bus from Scapadas
The owner-operator of the bus failed in excess of one-third of its
government vehicle-safety inspections in the past two years, sometimes due to
problems with brakes and tires, according to published reports. Its safety
history ranks in the bottom one-quarter of comparable U.S. companies, Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show.
Due to those ongoing maintenance problems, Scapadas Magicas had been
flagged for possible “intervention action and roadside inspection,” according
to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
This morning, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it
was sending an investigative team to San Bernardino County to gather and
document evidence about the crash, and determine its cause.