The charter tour bus that crashed Saturday evening outside Yosemite National Park, injuring more than a dozen people, was traveling at an unsafe speed when the driver lost control, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The bus was leaving Yosemite on California 41, or Wawona Road, about 6 p.m., when it veered off the roadway and angled up a dirt embankment, according to a CHP report. As the driver attempted to regain control of the vehicle, the bus crossed both lanes of traffic and struck a tree.
“If the tree wasn’t there to stop the bus, it would have continued down a ravine,” CHP Patrol Sgt. Edward Green told the Fresno Bee. The bus came to a stop with its two rear tires in the air.
Seventeen people were aboard the vehicle; 15 passengers and a tour guide sustained minor to moderate injuries in the crash, authorities said. The driver was uninjured.
The speed limit for the road is 55 mph, but several turns in the roadway require slowing, according to Scott Jobinger, a CHP spokesman. The accident occurred about a mile north of local road 630 and about 40 miles south of the park.
The bus was operated by Seven Happiness Tour and Charter Inc. in Burlingame, Calif., Jobinger said.
Adam Wang, a manager with Seven Happiness, said that the tour began Saturday morning in the Bay Area, and after a tour of the park, the bus was headed to Fresno for the night. It was to return to Burlingame on Sunday. Seven Happiness runs about two charters to Yosemite each week.
Intoxication was not a factor in the crash, the CHP said. A vehicle inspection will be performed on the bus to determine if there were any mechanical issue involved in the accident.
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