Thirteen people died in a driving accident in California when a tour bus crashed early Sunday morning into a freight truck in Palm Springs. About 31 people ended injured, and 21 are hospitalized, according to local authorities.

The driver was one of the first fatalities, dying at the moment of the crash. The local police have not yet determined the cause of the accident.

The wreckage of a tour bus that crashed into a semi-trailer, which resulted in multiple fatalities, is seen after being extricated on the westbound Interstate 10 freeway near Palm Springs, California. Reuters

About the accident

At 5:17 a.m. local time, a tour bus slammed to tractor-trailer near North Palm Springs, exactly on the westbound Interstate 10. The California Highway Patrol were the first authorities to respond, arriving at the scene and finding 11 people dead.

Firefighters arrived and tried to reach the victims under the remains of the tour bus using special ladders and cranes to search the wreckage, but were unable to save some people.

The Desert Regional Medical Center, located in the surroundings of Palm Springs received initially 14 patients, eight in critical conditions.

The California Highway Patrol said that the highway would be closed for several hours to allow authorities clean the scene and restore normal conditions to secure traffic. Investigators reached the area to collect information to release a full report about the accident eventually.

Who will investigate the crash? 

The National Transportation Safety Board, the independent Federal agency, is charged by the Congress with the responsibility of investigating civil aviation accidents in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation.

Considering the amount of people injured in this particular accident is this agency the responsible for executing the investigation and determining the probable cause of the crash. The NTSB also will have to issue safety recommendations aimed to prevent future accidents in the area.

The Board, along with the Federal Government and the authorities of the State, will coordinate the resources to provide assistance to victims and the family members of those who died in the accident.

The California Highway Patrol

The agency was created in 1929 to provide uniform traffic law enforcement throughout the state and to assure the safe and efficient transportation of people and goods in the highway system.  It was created by an act of the Legislature, to manage and regulate traffic and assist in emergencies exceeding local capabilities. Providing disaster and life-saving assistance is also among the initial missions of the Patrol.

The CHP works to reduce collision and fatality rates in the State, promoting safety and communication between residents and authorities, taking a leading role in educating the public concerning driver safety issues.

After ten years, the unit had 730 uniformed officers, and in October 1947, the Department of the California Highway Patrol was established, and its enforcement and administrative responsibilities were reorganized.

What to do after an accident in California?

To experts from the Accident Data Center, an important step to take after a serious accident is to get legal assistance to get fully compensated for the loss, as well as support to deal with medical bills, lost income and other costs associated with car accidents.

In California, besides the authorities, several organizations can support survivor and family members of those who died to deal with the shock the accident creates.  The California Office of Traffic Safety provides information on all these topics.

Source: CNN