California bus crash kills eight and injures dozens

Police say it took more than an hour to free people from the wreckage

At least eight people have died and dozens are wounded after a tour bus collided with two other vehicles on a mountain road in southern California.

The crash happened at 18:30 on Sunday near Yucaipa on the edges of the San Bernardino National Forest, some 80 miles (128 km) east of Los Angeles.

It took rescuers more than two hours to get all the passengers out of the bus.

Officials said 27 people were taken to nearby hospitals, at least six of them in a critical condition.

'Body parts'

The cause of the crash is not yet clear, but California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the bus driver reported brake problems as he descended a road leading from the Big Bear ski resort area.

The bus was in collision with a sedan car and a pick-up truck pulling a trailer, Mr Lopez said.

Her colleague, Michelle Profant, described the gruesome scene.

"It's really a mess up there with body parts," she said.

Some of the passengers were said to have been thrown from the bus, while others were trapped inside.

As firefighters worked to free those stuck, rescuers from at least eight different agencies were on the scene to help stabilise and transport the wounded, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The passengers were part of a tour group from Tijuana in Mexico, the Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant was quoted by AP as saying.

A representative from the Mexican consulate reportedly went to the crash scene.

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