A fatal crash took place involving a semi-truck and an SUV on Tuesday in Imperial County, Calif., leaving at least 15 dead and multiple others injured.
Emergency room Managing Director Judy Cruz with El Centro Regional Medical Center said in a Facebook Live video, “We believe there was 27 passengers in this SUV that struck a semi-truck full of gravel.”
Cruz said 14 people died at the scene of the accident, and one died later at the hospital. Seven injured victims were transferred to El Centro Regional Medical Center, and two were transferred to Pioneer Hospital.
“The patients are of course going through a little bit of a difficult time as you can imagine,” said Dr. Adolphe Edward, chief executive officer at the hospital. “This is a major accident. We are taking care of them in the emergency room department.
A photo from the front of the semi truck’s cab shows what appears to be an older Ford SUV.
The incident took place in the town of Holtville, approximately 10 miles north of the Mexican border.
California Highway Patrol Officer Arturo Platero earlier told CNN that at least 12 people were dead in the crash after a vehicle traveled “in the direct path” of a semi-truck.
A reported 17 fatalities were first identified on county law enforcement and fire radio traffic, in addition to calls for helicopters to begin evacuating victims to local hospitals. Support from surrounding first responders was also requested via radio.
Video posted online from the scene showed a heavy presence of first responders, and a gravel-carrying semi-truck. Two helicopters were also spotted nearby, in addition to numerous patient gurneys.
Imperial County Deputy Fire Chief Sal Flores told Los Angeles Times the crash was a “mass fatality incident,” but he could not confirm the numbers of deaths and injuries. LA Times reported that a semi-truck and an SUV collided.