Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Taiwanese dies in Norway crash

FAREWELL TOUR:Twenty-six-year-old tourist Lin Wen-ling died in a bus crash that the bus firm blamed on the road, while stranded tourists finally returned from Africa

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

One Taiwanese tourist died and nine suffered minor to severe injuries after the bus they were traveling on crashed in Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The deceased was identified as a 26-year-old woman named Lin Wen-ling (林玟伶). Lin was traveling with her father, who suffered minor injuries.

A Norwegian woman was also reportedly killed in the collision.

Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said two severely injured Taiwanese passengers were sent to Haukeland Hospital in Bergen for treatment. The seven others were treated at hospitals in Forde and Sognadal.

The Tourism Bureau said the 13-day tour around Scandinavia was organized by Artisan Express Inc (凱旋旅行社) and the group was made up of 22 tourists and a tour leader.

Artisan assistant manager Chen Wei-ming (陳為銘) said the accident occurred late on Monday afternoon as the group was heading to Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway, on the fifth day of the tour.

“A tunnel the bus had to take on the way to the fjord was closed because of a previous traffic accident, so it had to take an alternative route. It collided with a local bus and unfortunately, one of our group members was killed,” Chen said.

Chen said that the company has informed Lin’s family about the accident and was working with the ministry and the bureau to help family members go to Norway to handle the funeral and other relevant matters.

He said that most of the uninjured tourists wanted to return home as quickly as possible.

The bus was registered to a Swedish bus firm, whose chief executive reportedly told Norwegian Broadcasting Corp (NRK) that the road on which the accident occurred should never have been open to bus traffic because it is too narrow.

The assertion was denied by the Norwegian state highway department, which said that heavy vehicles can safely use that road.

Meanwhile, 23 Taiwanese who were stranded in Africa after an international airport in Kenya shut down were to return home yesterday night.

The two travel agencies that arranged the trips to East Africa — Sunday Tour (晴天國際) and Classic Express (豪福旅行社) — confirmed to the Taipei Times that all of their tour group members had boarded a Kenya Airways flight on Monday night from Zambia to Bangkok via Kenyatta International Airport, with some of the travelers put on the waiting list for transfer flights to Taipei as of press time.

As of press time, Sunday Tour told the Taipei Times that all 11 tourists in its group were scheduled to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:45pm yesterday on a China Airlines flight.

The other group, from Classic Express, was supposed to return on Saturday.

Classic Express manager Yang Tsung-hong (楊宗鴻) said the company had only confirmed seats on a Thai Airways flight for six tourists in the group and was pushing to get all 12 on the same flight. The group had been scheduled to return on Thursday last week.

Yang said the East Africa tours normally end in Zambia with a stop at a waterfall.

Statistics from the bureau show that another 53 Taiwanese tourists are traveling in Kenya at the moment, in groups arranged by Classic Express, Sunday Tour and Modern Tour. They are scheduled to return on Thursday, and Monday and Saturday next week.

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