At least 13 people killed in California tour bus, semi-truck crash, officials say

A horrific crash Sunday morning in California left 13 people dead and dozens more injured after a tour bus collided with a semi-truck.

The accident occurred at 5:17 a.m. in the westbound lanes of the 10 Freeway at Indian Canyon in the Desert Hot Springs area. The big rig driver, hauling food products, had only moderate injuries and police said he reported feeling “a thump in the back, but that’s all he really knew.”

“The speed of the bus was so significant that when it hit the back of the big-rig trailer, the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus,” California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele said during a Sunday afternoon news conference. “So you can see there was a substantial impact.”

All 44 people on board the bus were believed to be adults, said Abele, who wouldn’t say if officials expected the death toll to rise.

“By the grace of God nobody else will pass away,” he said.

The tour bus was identified as a 1996 USA Holiday bus. The Los Angeles-based company typically ferries people from LA to nearby casinos. The bus driver, who also owns the company and has not been identified, was killed in the crash.

Abele said the bus had been inspected in 2014, 2015 and April 2016 with no mechanical deficiencies reported. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed the bus had no prior crashes.

Authorities shut down the freeway in the aftermath of the incident. Police expected it to re-open at 4 p.m. local time.

Survivors told authorities that all passengers aboard the bus were believed to be asleep at the time of the crash. None of the passengers had been identified; however, Abele said police had been in contact with consulates from Mexico, Australia and Japan.

No cause of the crash was immediately identified, but Abele said many modern buses had “some kind of black box” that might aid authorities. Any influence of drugs, alcohol or driver fatigue had not been ruled out.

Firefighters on the scene had to use ladders placed near the bus’ windows to pull out victims. It took nearly two hours to separate the vehicles, Fox News reported.

The Palm Springs hospital treated 14 patients, five in critical condition, three in serious condition and six with minor injuries. Palm Springs houses the valley’s only trauma center, The Desert Sun Reported. All patients were adults.

Desert Regional director of marketing Rich Ramhoff said it was the most victims he’d seen from a single incident.

Eleven people with minor injuries were sent to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, spokesperson Lee Rice said. JFK Medical Center received five patients, all with minor injuries, chief development officer Linda Evans said.

The NTSB launched a “go team” to assist with the investigation.

Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame-Shooting 2017 F-450

Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame-Shooting 2017 F-450

Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame Shooting 2017 F 450© Truck Trend Network Staff Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame Shooting 2017 F 450
You may remember the issue Ford had with some of its 6.4L Power Stroke diesels shooting flames out of the tailpipe. That issue resulted in a recall affecting 37,000 pickups to reflash the ECM to reduce output in the event of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) overheating. The Navistar-built 6.4L Power Stroke is no longer sold by Ford, replaced by the in-house developed 6.7L Power Stroke in 2011. Up until now, the new engine has proven to be relatively reliable and trouble-free. However, its record is not totally spotless. Facebook user Shelly Shields of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, recently took delivery of a brand-new F-450 Super Duty truck. Not even 10 days into owning the truck, the truck started shooting flames out the tailpipe, as documented on her Facebook page.


Commenters quickly assumed Shelly inadvertently put diesel fuel into the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) fill, resulting in a superheated exhaust and the resultant pyrotechnics. Others said a brand-new truck shouldn’t require DEF for several thousand miles, so that cause was unlikely. Shelly reached out to Ford Canada for rectification on the matter and received a letter back absolving the corporation from direct responsibility, suggesting she work out the matter with the dealer she bought the truck from.

Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame Shooting 2017 F 450© Truck Trend Network Staff Canadian Ford Dealer Refunds Purchase of Flame Shooting 2017 F 450 Thankfully, Carstairs Ford, the dealer from which she bought the truck, agreed to buy back the truck and give her a full refund. Most Canadian dealers, like U.S. dealers, are independent franchisees, and customers’ purchase of vehicles is technically from the dealers and not directly from the manufacturers. So far, this seems to be an isolated incident, and not a large-scale issue with the new Power Strokes. Have you experienced this with your late-model diesel truck?

Ford North American Trucks and Commercial Vehicles Communications Manager Jiyan Cadiz issued the following statement in regard to Shelly’s incident:

“We have completed our initial investigation into the Super Duty in Canada and have determined it was caused by an incorrect repair after the truck was produced. We are not aware of any other incidents, and we are taking action to prevent this from happening in the future. In this unique case, the customer returned the affected truck and received a refund.”

CBS/AP October 21, 2016, 5:47 PM

Entire family of 6 killed in Nebraska house fire

The Speer family of Nehawka, Nebraska was killed in a house fire.


NEHAWKA, Neb.  — A relative tells KMTV that a family of six was killed in a house fire in Nehawka early Thursday morning, CBS affiliate KMTV reports.

The family member confirmed the dead are Mike and Michelle Speer, along with their four daughters Ellie, Addilyn, Emma, and Anniston.

The brother of fire victim Mike Speer, Jared Speer, issued a statement to KMTV, saying his brother was “a good man, a hard worker that loved his family and would do anything he could for them.”

“The whole family was just big lump of love and good memories. There is a huge hole left now in our hearts that will never be filled.


Emergency vehicles at the house where six members of the Speer family were killed in a fire.


Autopsies have been ordered, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier on Thursday, Cass County officials confirmed multiple deaths in a house fire.

At 12:07 am, Weeping Water Fire Department was dispatched to the 10000 block of McKelvie Road.

Officials said they had reports of people inside the house.

The fire was first reported by a neighbor to 911.

Fire departments from Weeping Water, Manley, Avoca, Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Cass County EMS responded and arrived on scene to find the two story house was fully involved in fire.

But they were not able to go inside the home to fight the fire.

The community has rallied to support the fire crews as they investigate what caused the fire that resulted in the deaths of the Speer family.

One resident told KMTV that they can’t figure out why things happen like they do.

As fire crews remained on scene working 12-hour plus shifts, local businesses from Murray and Weeping Water made sure firefighters were fed.

While many residents didn’t know the Speer family, they say the tragedy still hurts.

Residents told KMTV that the Speer family recently moved into the house and that the kids were excited about having pet chickens and much more space to play in.

Photo captures crash site of European Mars lander

By William Harwood CBS News October 21, 2016, 3:59 PM

Illustration of the European Space Agency probe approaching Mars.

Last Updated Oct 21, 2016 6:29 PM EDT

A low-resolution camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured images showing a large “fuzzy dark patch” on the surface of the red planet where the European Space Agency’s experimental Schiaparelli lander presumably crashed Wednesday, possibly exploding on impact, after its braking rockets apparently shut down a mile or more above the surface, ESA officials said Friday.

MRO’s low-resolution Context Camera, carrying out previously planned observations, shows a bright feature, presumably the remains of Schiaparelli’s 40-foot-wide supersonic parachute, and a dark spot measuring some 50 by 130 feet across, that is believed to be the site where the lander hit the surface.

The dark spot is about six tenths of a mile from the presumed parachute on a relatively smooth plain known as Meridiani Planum.

“This is interpreted as arising from the impact of the Schiaparelli module itself following a much longer free fall than planned, after the thrusters were switched off prematurely,” ESA said in a statement.


Before-and-after pictures taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a dark spot that is the presumed crash site of the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli lander, along with a white feature believed to be its discarded braking parachute.


The Schiaparelli lander fell into the martian atmosphere at 10:42 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) Wednesday, two days after release from ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft. The TGO spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Mars while Schiaparelli was attempting its landing.

The experimental lander, ESA’s first at Mars, hit the top of the discernible atmosphere at an altitude of 75 miles while traveling at some 13,000 mph. The descent to the surface was expected to take about six minutes.

Analysis of telemetry indicates the lander survived the blazing heat of atmospheric entry, successfully deployed its braking parachute and jettisoned its heat shield, all as planned. The flight plan called for Schiaparelli to cut the parachute free less than a mile above the surface and then to fire nine small rocket motors to gently descend to touchdown.

But contact was lost about a minute before the anticipated landing, right around the time the parachute was jettisoned. The MRO images show Schiaparelli landed on target, but not as planned.

“Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers (1.2 miles and 2.5 miles), therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h (186 mph),” the European Space Agency said in its statement.

“The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis.”

The new surface features are located about three miles from the intended landing point, well within the target zone.

“Since the module’s descent trajectory was observed from three different locations, the teams are confident that they will be able to reconstruct the chain of events with great accuracy,” ESA said. “The exact mode of anomaly onboard Schiaparelli is still under investigation.”

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will image the site in much more detail next week using its high resolution HiRISE camera, capable of resolving features just 12 inches across. The CTX camera that spotted the parachute and the dark spot at the landing site has a resolution of 20 feet per pixel.