Relatives and friends of the crash victims are asked to call 909-633-1982 for the latest information and assistance.
Emergency crews spent much of Monday clearing the carnage from a fatal bus crash Sunday on Highway 38 that killed seven and injured more than 30, including several in critical condition at hospitals. | » VIDEO: Crews remove debris
The bus was traveling south from Big Bear Lake on Highway 38 toward Bryant Street, near the Mentone-Yucaipa border around 6:30 p.m. when the driver lost control and crashed into two other vehicles.
"It is a horrific scene. It's a tragedy. It's probably one of the worst collisions I've witnessed in my career," said California Highway Patrol Officer Mario Lopez.
On Monday, the San Bernardino County Coroner's Office identified six of the dead.
The coroner is working to identify the other person killed in the collision. His or her name will be released after the family has been notified, according to the Coroner's Office.
Highway 38 remained closed most of the day Monday as authorities investigated the crash site and towed the wreckage, which will be sent to a National Transportation Safety Board warehouse, where investigators will determine what caused the crash.
Wreckage remained strewn on and off the highway as crews moved the huge, white mangled tour bus and removed what was once a Ford pickup truck and the trailer it was towing. After moving the bus, CHP officers investigated its interior, where they discovered and removed one body.
Among the survivors, the CHP identified the bus driver as Norberto Perez of San Ysidro.
Officials said Perez picked up 38 passengers in Tijuana on Sunday to spend the day in Big Bear.
While driving southbound on Highway 38 toward Bryant Street, Perez began experiencing mechanical issues, CHP officer Leon Lopez said.
The bus crashed into a Saturn carrying three passengers before veering off the road and overturning.
As the bus was overturning, it hit a boulder on the side of the road, which set the bus upright before crashing into the Ford pickup truck traveling north, Leon Lopez said.
"Speed seems to be a factor, but we don't know what caused the bus to speed down the mountain road," Mario Lopez said.
Six passengers were thrown from the bus.
The people in the Saturn and the driver of the Ford - the vehicle's sole occupant - were injured, according to officials.
Beaumont Councilwoman Brenda Knight said the man driving the pickup is her uncle.
She said his prognosis is not good.
From the scene, six patients were sent to Redlands Community Hospital. Four people have been discharged.
One crash victim was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
A woman was pronounced dead at Redlands Community Hospital, said Nikyah Thomas-Pfeiffer, marketing manager for the hospital.
Two female victims were sent to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where they were listed in critical condition in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
Two men were also transferred to Arrowhead Regional from Community Hospital of San Bernardino, where they were in stable condition, said Jorge Valencia, director of business and marketing for the Colton hospital.
LLUMC was caring for eight victims, five of whom were sent directly to the hospital. The other two were transferred from St. Bernardine Medical Center. The other was sent from Redlands Community Hospital.
As of Monday afternoon, one man and one girl were in critical condition; a male victim was in serious condition; and two women, a girl, boy and one man were listed in fair condition.
A spokesperson at LLUMC said the families of the victims declined to speak with the media, but a small memorial began to form outside the emergency services building. Included in the memorial were candles, a "Get Well Soon" balloon and three hand-written notes.
Irvin Zelaya was standing outside LLUMC waiting for a family friend to arrive.
He said he was helping his friend find information on whether he had any family members on board. He said that in addition to people from Tijuana, there were several from the San Diego area.
Some friends and family members were left feeling frustrated when they tried to get information.
"When I heard about the crash, I tried to find out if my friend was on it, but (the company that set up the trips) was little help," said Lina Durazno. She later learned her friend had decided not to go on the trip at the last minute. "I was terrified until I was finally able to reach her." She declined to give her friend's name.
Others also complained the Tijuana-based company that set up the trips, Interbus, would only offer family members an Inland Empire phone number for information.
In a statement, the company said, "The Interbus Tours team is working to support our clients and their families that unfortunately suffered an accident coming from the mountains of Big Bear ... We are in contact with the Mexican Consulate and have shared the phone number where people can get information about those injured."
But Durazno and others in Mexico struggling to find information were frustrated because the phone number, 909-428-5400, was always busy.
Calls to the busing company Interbus used for the Big Bear trip, Scapadas Magicas in National City, went unanswered.
Another woman, who did not want to be identified, said her cousin was on the bus along with a friend. Her cousin was not seriously injured but she said she had to wait for her aunt to make the more than three-hour drive from Tijuana to San Bernardino before she knew his condition.
"It was horrible," the woman said. "Maybe they did it for a good reason, but all I know is we were all here, hundreds of miles away not knowing if he was alive or dead. That is cruel. God had his hand on my cousin and made sure he would come back home to us."
Officials from the Mexican Consulate arrived at the scene Sunday night to offer assistance.
Carolina Zaragoza Flores, the local consul of Mexico, said phone calls began to pour into her San Bernardino office immediately after the crash.
A Highland resident, Zaragoza Flores drove to the scene of the crash and began working with authorities to learn where the injured were taken. She worked through the night into Monday.
Most of the passengers on the bus are residents of Tijuana. They caught the bus about 5:30 a.m. Sunday in Tijuana for a a day trip to the Big Bear area and were headed back to Tijuana when the crash occurred, Zaragoza Flores said.
Some were taking advantage of what would have been a long weekend, since Monday was Constitution Day in Mexico, she said.
Many of the victims have relatives in Southern California. Zaragoza Flores said she made phone calls to relatives of victims who live locally and in Mexico.
Flores said her office will help those who were released from the hospital get home.
Some of the passengers have contacted family members living in Southern California who are assisting them in returning to Tijuana.
Flores said her office will assist in returning the bodies of the Mexican citizens to their native country.
"We are going to take them to Tijuana, where they are coming from and some others, they are coming from Mexico City, so we're going to bring them to Mexico City and in regards to the people who died, we are going to pay (for their) funeral expenses, too," Flores said.
Highway 38 was reopened shortly after 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Staff Writers Doug Saunders, Monica Rodriguez, Josh Dulaney and Sandra Emerson contributed to this report.
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