Death toll in Merced Co. bus crash adjusted to 4

KGO logo
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
A traffic sign pole sliced through a tour bus on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 in Merced County, Calif.
A traffic sign pole sliced through a tour bus, killing at least five people, on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 in Merced County, Calif.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Experts from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a bus crash that killed four people and injured 23 on a central California highway.

Senior highway accident investigator Don Karol said Wednesday that it's not known what occurred immediately before Tuesday's crash and that the NTSB will be working with the California Highway Patrol to find out.

The driver survived, but officials haven't been able to speak to him because of his injuries.

Authorities say there were 27 people on the bus, including the driver. Besides the passengers who died, seven suffered major injuries, three had moderate injuries and 13 received minor injuries.

PHOTOS: Deadly tour bus crash on California's Highway 99

1 of 14
The California Highway Patrol says the tour bus was carrying about 50 people when it crashed into a highway pole at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday August 2, 2016.

Shortly after Tuesday's crash, a California Highway Patrol officer at the scene said five people died.

RELATED: Bus company in deadly crash has history of violations, problems

The bus struck the pole of a road sign, and it tore through the seating area. The sheriff says there were dismemberments.

Officials say the dead include a married couple from Mexico who were traveling to visit a daughter in Pasco, Washington, and a man from Avalon, California, whose spouse is hospitalized.

A fourth victim is only identified as a man in his late 30s whose family is being sought through a Mexican consulate.