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1 dead in Southern California church bus crash

One person died and up to two dozen were injured Monday afternoon when a school bus slid over a snowy embankment along a Southern California highway.
A bus carrying members of a Korean church from Pasadena, Calif., is seen Monday among trees in Twin Peaks, Calif., after colliding with another vehicle and killing one person, officials said. The bus was returning home from a weekend retreat near the accident site.Damian Dovarganes / AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A bus carrying members of a Korean church home from a weekend retreat in Southern California slid off an icy mountain highway after colliding with another vehicle, killing one person, officials said.

The victim was one of 22 people on the bus 11:50 a.m. Monday when it collided with a Nissan Murano traveling in the opposite direction and slid 50 feet down a mountainside after hitting a power pole about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol Officer Mario Lopez said.

Daniel Lee, deacon at the Pasadena-based Light of Love Mission Church, said the bus was returning from a retreat at the Pinecrest Christian Conference Center near the accident site. He said most participants were middle-school or high-school aged.

Power lines downed in the crash hampered rescue efforts, the California Highway Patrol said on Twitter. Special tools were used to cut out bus seats and extricate some of the victims.

The coroner's office was called to the scene in the San Bernardino Mountains near Crestline as crews pulled trapped teens from inside the bus, the CHP said on its website. Early reports said two were dead, but the coroner's office said it received reports of only one fatality.

Several youths were extricated from the bus, and a makeshift triage center was set up nearby, according to KCAL-TV. Authorities said around 20 patients were sent to area hospitals. An exact count was not available.

Ten people were listed in critical condition, and the others suffered only minor injuries, Lopez said.

The bus collided head-on with a car containing a man and woman, officials said. The man had minor injuries and the woman had major injuries, officials said.

The accident was reported shortly before noon along Highway 189 southwest of Lake Gregory in Crestline, a mountainous part of the county popular with skiers about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.