At least 13 people were killed in a collision between a car and a trailer in Southern California. The local hospital confirms this. The accident happened near El Centro, about ten miles from the Mexican border. Previously, the local hospital reported 15 deaths, but the police have now adjusted that.
On board the car, a Ford SUV, were at least 25 adults and children. The vehicle collides with a gravel truck. 12 people died instantly, and 13 people died later at El Centro Regional Medical Center. This hospital is currently caring for six more injured people. At least three others were transferred to other hospitals in the area.
The truck driver was also taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The ages of the dead ranged from 20 to 55. The driver of the car was also killed. Omar Watson, head of Border Department at Highway Police, said the youngest of those injured was 16. Several passengers were thrown out of the car and died on the tarmac, and others died in the car, he said.
The Ford Expedition SUV is usually equipped to accommodate five to eight people. Previously, El Centro Hospital reported that there were 27 passengers and 15 dead, but Watson said there were 25 passengers and 13 deaths.
Most of the accident survivors speak Spanish, but it remains unclear if the vehicle’s passengers crossed the US-Mexico border in an overcrowded van or whether they were local workers. Watson says the police worked with the Mexican consulate to find out who was in the car and notify relatives of the deceased passengers.
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but concerns have been raised for decades that the death toll in accidents will rise along the California-Mexico border. Often these are vehicles carrying immigrants trying to enter the United States. A large number of these accidents happen during the pursuit of the United States authorities. However, Border Police said it was only called in after the plane crashed today and thus there was no chase.
The area around El Centro is mainly agricultural and is known as the Imperial Valley. The region is a major producer of fruits, vegetables, grains and livestock.
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