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Tourists among six bus crash dead in California

Authorities are investigating the cause of a deadly crash that killed six people, including two Mexican tourists, and seriously injured nine others when a Greyhound bus slammed into an overturned SUV in California.

The bus, carrying 31 passengers on a route from Los Angeles to Sacramento, struck the SUV in front of it, skidded into a concrete centre divider and clipped another vehicle near Fresno, California Highway Patrol chief Jim Abrames said.

The bus went off the right shoulder of the highway and down a 15ft embankment before hitting a eucalyptus tree and coming to rest on a motorway off-ramp with its front end smashed and tree branches jutting into the vehicle.

Authorities were inspecting mangled pieces of metal, broken glass and torn clothing scattered around the wreckage in search of clues about the crash. They also intended to examine data recorded on-board the bus.

It could take months, however, before a final report is completed, Mr Abrames said.

Arlan Snider, who was traveling from Phoenix to Sacramento to visit his mother, said he was asleep in the middle section of the bus when the crash occurred. He awoke to the smell of smoke and injured passengers around him.

"I woke up on the floor of the bus and started helping people off the bus," Mr Snider, 41, who escaped uninjured, said after arriving at Sacramento's bus terminal.

The six dead people included four women and two men. Three of the women had been travelling in the dark-blue SUV that had overturned and blocked both lanes, police said. Twenty-one people were taken to hospitals for treatment, and nine had moderate to critical injuries.

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