While traveling Southbound on Interstate 15 from El Monte, California to San Ysidro and Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday, February 23, a charter bus began to hydroplane. A witness explained the vehicle hydroplaned from the third lane to the fourth lane, then lost control, hit an embankment, and flipped over. The bus then slid down the embankment, which interfered with the vehicle’s stability and first responders’ capacity to access and rescue passengers. With 10 ambulances, 10 fire engines, and 1 heavy rescue unit, rescuers were able to get everyone out of the bus and on their way to hospitals within 30 minutes.
One woman, however, was trapped under the vehicle after it landed on its roof. This woman and 2 others were killed by the collision and 17 passengers were thrown from the bus. A 5-year-old boy with a head injury was transported in critical condition, and a total of 21 people were on the bus at the time of the crash. The North County Fire chief confirmed the crash appears to be a solo vehicle accident, and weather (rain) seems to have been a factor, but officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still investigating the accident.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed the death and injury toll at the scene of the accident and revealed that the majority of passengers were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision. A CHP representative also updated NBC San Diego on the location and critical condition of the injured 5-year-old and the status of the bus driver. The man, from the Whittier area, suffered minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital.
Traffic in the area was heavily impacted, but the roadway was reopened a few hours later.
No other information is available at this time, but you can click here for the full article from NBC San Diego and any updates the publication may post.