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About 50 hurt when bus crashes on California freeway

Some 50 people suffered minor injuries Thursday when a casino-bound tour bus rolled over about 20 miles east of Los Angeles in Irwindale, Calif., the California Highway Patrol said.

The crash on the Foothill (210) Freeway near the San Gabriel (605) Freeway was reported just after 10 a.m. on the eastbound the 210, the CHP said.

Aerial footage showed a large emergency response off the side of the freeway with firefighters tending to people on green, yellow and red triage tarps. The color-coded tarps indicate severity of injuries, with red being the most severe.

Some were carried away in stretchers. A heavy tow vehicle was sent in to pull the bus from a ditch.

Some motorists got out of their cars and hopped over the center divider into the empty lanes of traffic to get a look.

The bus, Da Zhen out of Monterey Park, was carrying 40 passengers, said CHP Officer Saul Gomez, a department spokesman. The bus was headed to the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, a casino spokesman said.

None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. Most of the victims were treated for bumps and bruises, Gomez said.

The CHP's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, which investigates all major crashes throughout the state, was leading the probe. It was unknown whether there were other vehicles involved.

"It's a little early to determine whether it was driver error," Gomez said. "We are worried more about the injured people than the actual investigation itself."

Lt. Mark Garrett of the CHP said officers would conduct a "very thorough mechanical inspection" of the bus.

Traffic was backed up for miles as both sides of the freeway were briefly shut down. Eastbound lanes were likely to remain closed into the afternoon.

Da Zhen is a Chinese tour bus company that frequently offers one and two-day trips to casinos in California and Las Vegas, its website said. None of its buses have been involved in crashes in the last two years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

NBC4's Phil Drechsler, Chris Henao, Nyree Arabian and Rosa Ordaz contributed to this report.