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Eight killed in tour bus crash

At least eight people are dead and 38 injured after a tour bus collided with two other vehicles in the mountains of Southern California early today.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Mario Lopez said the bus driver reported having brake problems as it came down the mountain on State Route 38, crashing into a car then flipping over and hitting a pick-up truck that was pulling a trailer.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Profant said the passengers on the bus were part of a tour group from Tijuana, Mexico and a representative from the Mexican consulate was at the crash scene.

San Bernardino County fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said the crash happened near the San Bernardino National Forest at about 6.30pm local time. State Route 38 leads to Big Bear, a popular recreation area.

The injuries ranged from minor to life-threatening, he said.

The San Bernardino Sun said at least seven ambulances were called to the scene and the California Highway Patrol and fire services in San Bernardino County were flooded with calls soon after the crash.

People were being taken out of the bus more than an hour after the crash and rescuers were still searching the wreckage for victims hours later.

The California crash comes less than a day after a bus carrying 42 high school pupils and their chaperones slammed into a bridge in Boston, Massachusetts. State police said 35 people were injured and that the driver had directed the bus on to a road with a height limit.

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