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April 14, 2013

16 hurt in bus crash near Yosemite park

The Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol says a tour bus carrying visitors from Yosemite National Park was traveling at an "unsafe speed" when the driver of the bus lost control and the bus crashed on a mountain road, leaving 16 people injured.

CHP Officer Scott Jobinger says the bus was about six miles outside of the south entrance of the park when the bus went off Highway 41, a winding mountain road, and hit a tree.

Fifteen passengers on the bus and a tour guide suffered minor to moderate injuries. They were taken to local hospitals.

Investigators have not determined the exact speed of the bus at the time of the crash but Jobinger says the highway has sharp curves where the speed limits drop to 35 miles per hour.

The bus driver was the only person on the bus who was not hurt. He has not been arrested, and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A bus carrying visitors from Yosemite National Park crashed on a main highway south of the park, leaving 16 people injured, the California Highway Patrol said Sunday.

The bus was about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of the park when it went off Highway 41 and over and embankment about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The patrol's Merced dispatch office described it as a minor injury crash, and said the 16 people were taken to local hospitals.

The bus was carrying 17 people, including a driver, when the crash occurred near a local road.

No more police information was immediately available, but the Fresno Bee quoted officers as saying the bus was returning from a visit to the park when the bus driver, who was traveling about 40 mph (64 kph), lost control of the bus.

Patrol Sgt. Edward Greene said the bus rolled onto an embankment and several passengers were thrown to the driver's side of the bus. It eventually came to a stop after hitting a tree.

"If the tree wasn't there to stop the bus, it would have continued down the ravine," Greene said.

The newspaper said the injured people, the majority of whom were elderly, were taken to three area hospitals with minor to moderate injuries. Four of the injured were treated at Clovis Community Medical Center and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The bus driver was the only one who was not hurt.