A head-on collision between a van with 27 passengers and a truck left at least 14 dead in southern California, near the border with Mexico, local media and authorities reported.
“We believe that 27 people were in the van who collided with a cargo truck. 14 people died at the scene,” said Rosana Lugo, marketing director of El Centro Regional Medical Center, in a bilingual press conference.
He added that three people were taken by helicopter to the nearest hospital in the town of El Centro (Imperial County), 7 people were taken to the Regional Medical Center and another three were transferred to another hospital.
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#BREAKING 14 of 27 people packed into a #Ford SUV are killed after colliding with a semi in #ElCentro #California near the #Mexico #border @Telemundo51 #breakingnews https://t.co/2vSfWadf0r pic.twitter.com/PbSwcAZ2su— JRodriguez (@JRodzMIA) March 2, 2021
Of the 7 transferred to the medical center, one died and two others were referred to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in the town of Brawley.
The accident occurred shortly before 08:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on State Highway 115, near the city of Holtville.
The town of El Centro is located about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Arturo Platero told CNN that the truck was heading west when it got “in the way” of a large truck traveling north.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, he added.
Authorities did not provide details on the age or nationality of the victims.