At least 13 people die after SUV hits truck carrying gravel near US-Mexico border

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At least 13 people have been killed and about a dozen others were taken to hospital after a crash near the US-Mexico border in southern California, the California Highway Patrol has said.

A Ford Expedition SUV carrying 27 people hit a semi-truck, or large lorry, full of gravel around 10 miles (16km) north of the border, killing 15 people, initial reports said.

But, according to NBC, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) "later clarified" that 13 people, aged between 20 and 55, were dead. Some 25 people were inside the SUV.

A 16-year-old was among the injured, the CHP said, with the oldest victim aged 55.

The semi was headed north on 115, south of Norrish Road, while the Ford was traveling west on Norrish, just east of 115, officials said.

CHP Border Division Chief Omar Watson told reporters: "At this point it's unknown whether or not the Expedition stopped at the stop sign, but it did enter the intersection in front of the big rig.

"Subsequently the big rig collided with the left side of the Ford Expedition."

Judy Cruz, managing director of the emergency department at El Centro Regional Medical Center, told reporters 15 people had died, at least 14 of them pronounced dead at the scene.

Pictures taken at the scene show a burgundy SUV, with the driver's side wrapped around the front of the truck.

The SUV's windshield is shattered, and debris is scattered on the ground around the two vehicles.

Ms Cruz said: "We believe there was 27 passengers in this SUV that struck a semi-truck full of gravel."

Four people were airlifted by helicopter to the the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where three of them are in intensive care, hospital public information officer Todd Burke said.

The Imperial County Fire Department responded to reports of a mass fatality incident at 6.16am, Deputy Fire Chief Sal Flores and the county's Office of Emergency Services said.

The Imperial County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

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