Taiwan tour bus crash kills many

A Taiwan bus reported to have been taking local tourists home after visiting seasonal cherry blossoms veered off a highway late yesterday, killing at least 32 passengers, the national fire department said. Most of the passengers were seniors, local fire department said.

The coach is said to have careered towards a barrier at a curve on the road.

The tour bus with 44 people on board, including the driver and tour guide, flipped off the side of an exit ramp connecting Freeway No. 5 (from Yilan County to Nangang) to southbound lanes of Freeway No. 3 at around 9 p.m., firefighters said.

Authorities are still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau said that the tour had been organised by the Tieh Lien Hua Travel Agency and that numerous passengers were elderly.




"We are making efforts to help with the emergency response and will fully cooperate", Chou Chi-hung told Reuters by telephone.

The national fire agency said 32 people had been killed, with 13 still being treated in hospital, a lot of them with serious injuries.

Rescue personnel used a crane to pry the vehicle open.

It followed a grisly murder-suicide a year ago in which 24 Chinese tourists were killed after the driver set their moving bus on fire.

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