Photo provided by Utah Highway Patrol on Sept. 20, 2019 shows the bus crash scene near the Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, the United States. The Chinese embassy in the United States has confirmed the bus that crashed near the Bryce Canyon National Park in the U.S. state of Utah on Friday noon was carrying a Chinese tour group. The crash caused multiple deaths and injuries, the Chinese embassy said in a statement. (Utah Highway Patrol/Handout via Xinhua)
At least four Chinese speaking tourists were confirmed dead in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in US state of Utah on Friday, according to Utah Highway Patrol (UHP).
A total of 30 persons were on the bus, UHP tweeted. “Four have been killed 12-15 with critical injuries and 10 more with minor to serious injuries. The bus was carrying Chinese speaking tourists into Bryce Canyon.”
The injured have been taken to area hospitals throughout Southern Utah. Several were transported by air ambulance, according to the agency.
The crash occurred on state road 12 (SR-12) at around 11:30 a.m. local time, about 5.6 kilometers west of Bryce Canyon, according to authorities and the park.
UHP said they received calls at 11:32 a.m. of the bus crash near mile post 10 on SR-12.
Troopers are en route to the crash scene. Multiple air ambulances and rescue crews have been dispatched.
SR-12 is closed for the investigation of the bus crash, according to UHP.
The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent US government agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation, tweeted Friday afternoon it was launching a team to investigate the tour bus crash.
Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told the media that he felt terribly for those involved in the crash.
“This is pretty overwhelming for a little county of 4,900 people. This is just horrible for us,” he was quoted by the media as saying.
“My heart sank when I heard the news that a tour bus crashed near Bryce Canyon,” tweeted Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
“I grieve with all who lost loved ones in this crash and I’m grateful for the quick work of first responders, as well as all those who are volunteering to act as translators,” added the governor.
Southern Utah University said it is mobilizing international students from China who can serve as translators for the people injured in this horrific accident. Local officials have asked for volunteers who speak Chinese to go to Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch to help translate for the victims.
The university said in a statement that its Confucius Institute is working with the law enforcement in response to the bus crash. “We have sent 4 staff/students to aid in interpreting for, and identifying, persons involved in the accident. They are in Panguitch and Kanab, with more on standby.”
Some of the victims are expected to be treated at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch, Utah, according to media reports.
Bryce Canyon National Park is in southern Utah and is known for its unique geology, according to the National Park Service website.