Source AP ©

American nationals are among victims of bus crash in Mexico

A bus that ran off a mountain road carried a family traveling to Mexico from the U.S. for a funeral.

The Vallarta Plus bus was carrying 35 passengers from the resort city of Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara - including passengers of several detoured flights - when it went off the road Saturday, bus company and government officials said.

Among the surviving passengers was Juan Antonio Quezada de la Cruz, who lives in Riverside, California, and was traveling with seven family members to attend their father's funeral in Guadalajara. A sister and a 1-year-old nephew died in the crash, he said.

"I don't know if the bus was going fast or if it skidded. I just felt a thud and tried to grab my nephew who was sitting next to me," he said from a hospital bed in Tepic, a city in the western state Mexican state of Nayarit.

Quezada de la Cruz said several of his family members traveled from Phoenix to Tijuana where they took a plane to Guadalajara.

Vallarta Plus bus company spokesman Daniel Rios said most of the passengers on its bus traveled first from Tijuana aboard a flight that was diverted to Puerto Vallarta, correcting his earlier statements that passengers involved the crash came from a flight that left Phoenix on Friday for Guadalajara.

That plane was rerouted to Puerto Vallarta along with 17 other flights because of a fire at the Guadalajara airport.

The Nayarit prosecutor's office reported 17 dead: 13 men, three women and a 1-year-old child. The bus driver, identified as 28-year-old Madiel Coronado, was among the injured.

State Red Cross spokesman Miguel Langarica said at least 18 people were killed. The discrepancy could not immediately be explained.

Authorities said four of the injured, including Quezada de la Cruz, were from Los Angeles and nearby Riverside, California, but did not give hometowns for the dead.

The crash occurred near the town of Compostela, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Guadalajara.

Alfredo Ortega, a spokesman with civil protection authorities in the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara are located, said the Guadalajara airport was temporarily shut down Friday after a plane coming from Cancun had to make an emergency landing.

Ortega said there were no reports of injuries from that plane. No one answered phone calls placed to the airport Sunday.

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