Tue, Apr 28, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Third tourist dies from injuries

TAIPEI TRAGEDYZhang Shiguang, whose ribs were broken when a crane boom landed on a tour bus on Friday, died of his injuries in hospital yesterday morning

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Chinese tourist injured when a crane boom landed on a tour bus on Friday passed away at 10:22am at Taipei Medical University Hospital yesterday.

All of Zhang Shiguang’s (張世洸) ribs were broken by the time the 63-year-old arrived at hospital. The rescue team put him on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation system, which kept him alive for four days, before he was pronounced dead from multiple organ failure yesterday, raising the death toll from the accident to three.

Yao Ta-kuang (姚大光) of the Travel Agent Association said yesterday that he and a Tourism Bureau official had met the Taipei branch representative of Taisei Corp (大成營造), the company managing the construction site, and the latter had agreed to submit a written plan on how it would compensate the victims.

Yao said that officials from the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province, who arrived on Saturday, also wanted matters of compensation to be resolved as soon as possible. They also hoped the government could honor the wishes of the families with regard to funerals and other matters. They also said they wanted doctors to make a judgment on whether the injured tourists were physically capable of making the trip home.

Yao also commented on a series of issues on accommodating the rising number of Chinese tourists, particularly the shortage of tour buses and the ability of facilities at some of the nation’s tourist attractions to handle the number of visitors.

More than 200 Chinese tourists have been stranded at airports and hotels because local travel agents failed to secure tour buses by the time they arrived.

A travel agent has been barred from handling Chinese tour groups for three months by the Tourism Bureau following the incidents.

“After the visit of Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉) of the China National Tourism Administration in February, some in China started to launch campaigns to bring more than 10,000 tourists to Taiwan this month,” Yao said. “In the meantime, however, a majority of the nation’s students were also taking graduation trips.”

He said the supply of tour buses returned to normal yesterday as the numbers visiting the nation this week has dropped to an average of 3,000 a day.

Yao said the association had met officials from the Tourism Bureau as well as the Department of Highways and Railways. He said the officials agreed to amend regulations that only tour buses that have been operating for less than seven years could carry Chinese tourists. Buses that have been in operation for more than 10 years and are equipped with engines larger than 7,000cc would also be allowed.

Yao said the tourists were stranded last week because the travel agent and a tour bus operator could not agree on price. While the travel agent only agreed to pay NT$7,500 for a tour bus, the bus company insisted it be paid more because of increasing demand for its buses.

Currently, a tour bus for hire costs up to NT$13,000 per day, including tips for the driver.

Yao said the association would establish official contact with the Tour Bus Association to better control the number of the tour buses being deployed.

To ensure the quality of travel services, Yao said tourist attractions such as Alishan and Sun Moon Lake must have a mechanisms to control the number of visitors. Yao hoped that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the nation would increase to 5,000 a day after regular cross-strait flight services become available.

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