By Jake Carpenter and Justin Lear, CNN
(CNN) — A limousine carrying nine women burst into flames on a bridge over the San Francisco Bay on Saturday night, leaving five of them dead and the rest hospitalized, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The four surviving women and the driver of the white stretch Lincoln attempted to rescue their companions. So did some good Samaritans who stopped to help. But their efforts were unsuccessful, and the five women trapped inside were pronounced dead at the scene on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, Highway Patrol spokesman Ron Simmons said Sunday.
“Looking at the photos, it appears it started in the trunk,” Simmons said. “But at this time, we don’t know officially if the fire started inside the vehicle or on the exterior.”
The women, all in their 30s, were headed from Alameda, outside Oakland, to Foster City, on the west side of the Bay. The four surviving women were treated for smoke inhalation, Simmons said.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation. Medical examiners may need up to two days to identify the remains, San Mateo County Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding said.
The limousine company, LimoStop Inc., said it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.
“LimoStop Inc. will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to help bring forth answers and provide closure to the victims and their families,” a written statement from the company said.
CNN’s Nick Valencia contributed to this report.