4 die, 38 hurt in California tour-bus crash

The crashed bus is on its side across the southbound lanes.
At least four people died when a tour bus crashed Tuesday on the Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway Patrol spokesman Brian Wiest said.

“There were people ejected,” Wiest said. Highway 101 near Soledad, California, was closed in both directions for about 2½ hours after the crash, which injured 38 people, authorities said. The highway patrol later opened the northbound lanes, using one for northbound traffic and the other for southbound traffic. The crashed bus was on its side across the southbound lanes. The bus belongs to Orion Pacific, a charter service that provides trips “across the USA and around the world,” according to its Web site. No one answered CNN’s call to Orion Pacific. At least some of the passengers on the bus were French, said Jacques de Noray, spokesman for the French consulate in San Francisco. The Soledad Fire Department said 12 ambulances and seven helicopters were dispatched to the scene.

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The California Highway Patrol said the crash took place at about 3:23 p.m. while the bus was en route from San Francisco to Santa Maria, about 230 miles down the coast. Soledad is about halfway between the two cities. The cause of the crash had not been determined.