At least four dead, 12 critically injured, in Utah tour bus crash

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – A bus carrying Chinese-speaking tourists crashed on Friday (Sept 20) near Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, killing at least four people and critically injuring at least a dozen others, the state Highway Patrol reported.

Circumstances of the crash, which occurred at about 11.30am local time on State Route 12 just west of the park, were not immediately known, state Highway Patrol spokesman Corporal Chris Bishop said.

But Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told KSL-TV, a local NBC affiliate station, that the bus went off the road near Bryce Canyon Pines lodge.

“This is pretty overwhelming for a little county of 4,900 people,” he said to the station. “This is just horrible for us, and we feel terrible for those who are injured and their families.”

Bishop said the Highway Patrol was confirming at least four fatalities, in addition to 12 to 15 people who were critically injured, and said it was possible the death toll would rise.

The stretch of highway where the crash occurred was shut in both directions as authorities began investigating the cause of the accident, and it likely will remain closed “for some time,”Bishop said.

All or most of the passengers aboard the bus were Chinese-speaking tourists, but their nationalities had not immediately been determined, according to Bishop.

It was also unclear whether the tour bus at the time was headed to or from Bryce Canyon, located about 435km south of Salt Lake City.

The national park, occupying 14,245 hectares of southern Utah, is best known for its giant, spired, multi-hued rock formations, or hoodoos, and attracts some two million visitors a year.

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