At least 15 people were killed yesterday in a collision between an SUV and a tractor trailer truck in southern California, about 16.1km north of the Mexican border, hospital officials said.
The crash, on State Route 115 near El Centro, California, involved a sport utility vehicle carrying 27 people and a truck hauling gravel, officials at El Centro Regional Medical Center told a news briefing.
Some 14 people died at the scene while another person died at the El Centro Regional Medical Center, the director of the hospital’s emergency room, Judy Cruz, said in the briefing, posted on Facebook.
Three patients were flown to other hospitals from the scene of the crash, and seven more were brought to El Centro.
One more person died at the hospital, bringing the total to 15, she said.
Officials offered few additional details.
“The patients are going through a little bit of a difficult time as you can imagine,” said Adolphe Edward, chief executive officer of El Centro Regional Medical Center. “This was a major accident and we are taking care of them in the emergency room department,” Edward added
The truck driver suffered minor injuries, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol told the Los Angeles Times.
An Imperial County Fire Department official told the Los Angeles Times that the agency responded to a mass fatality incident at 6.16am local time.
The Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs is caring for four patients from the crash, hospital director of communications Todd Burke told CNN.
Three of the four patients are in the intensive care unit, and all four were flown in directly from the scene to the trauma centre.
California Highway Patrol Officer Arturo Platero said the vehicle was moving westbound on Norrish Road near State Route 115 when it travelled “in the direct path” of a big rig truck travelling northbound on 115.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Video posted on social media that purports to show the crash’s aftermath depicts a number of police, ambulance and fire vehicles at the scene.
The road appears to be completely shut down as some emergency responders look to be helping the wounded.
A jack-knifed truck, with two trailers attached to it, sits on the road.
As the camera pans left, two helicopters can be seen.
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