A tour bus crashed near Bryce Canyon National park in Utah on Friday causing four deaths, reports USA Today. According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the bus was carrying 30 Chinese-speaking tourists and the driver when it rolled off the road on State Route 12 and crashed into a guardrail. All the passengers on board were adults with no children present.
Initially, 12-15 people were considered to be in critical condition. However, many of the victims improved and as of Friday night, five passengers still remain in critical care.
The authorities are investigating the incident but do not think intoxication played a role in the driver losing control of the bus. After the accident, authorities asked Chinese-speaking students to act as translators. Additionally, Utah authorities are working with the Chinese consulate to contact the victims’ family members.
The Chinese Embassy in the US tweeted, “We are saddened to hear about the accident in Utah involving a bus carrying Chinese tourists. We are thankful to authorities in Utah for their assistance. The Embassy has initiated its emergency protocols, sent personnel to the area, and will assist the victims as needed.”
Ontario, California based company, America Shengjai operated the bus that crashed. The bus is described by USA Today as a “limousine-style coach” bus built in 2016 and 2017. America Shengjai operates two buses and has no prior crashes.
Although the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, the Utah Highway Patrol will conduct a separate investigation.
Bryce National Canyon Park in southern Utah is a heavily visited tourist area. It hosted 2.7 million visitors in 2018.
UPDATE: 9-23-2019 – The identities of the four dead victims have been released. According to CNN, Ling Geng, 68, Xiuyun Chen, 67, Zhang Caiyu, 62, and ZhongLiang Qiu, 65, were killed in the bus crash. All four victims were from Shanghai, China.