Three Chinese tourists were left unconscious by a tour bus crash in eastern Taiwan on Friday evening, while six other members of the tour group who suffered major injuries underwent medical treatment, hospital authorities in Hualien County said yesterday.
The tourists were part of a 32-member tour group from Beijing — along with a local tour guide and the bus driver — on a 13-year-old tour bus that rolled over at 6:18pm on Friday.
The most severely injured of the group all was a Chinese woman named Gou Xiaorong (苟曉蓉), who was initially pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at the scene of the accident, but who showed signs of life after resuscitation.
Guo and two other tourists were reportedly still unconscious because of moderate to severe brain injuries, while seven -others with major injuries remained hospitalized.
The Chinese tourists belonged to a Beijing-based Chinese opera group. They were traveling in Taiwan on the fourth day of a week-long trip at the invitation of the local Chung Hsing Chinese Opera Association. Another 34 members of the Chinese group were on a second tour bus and were reported to be safe.
The Hualien County Police Bureau said an initial investigation has found that the accident occurred because the driver was speeding. The accident took place at the 43km marker of Highway No. 11, the coastal road that connects Hualien and Taitung counties. The speed limit at that section of the road is 50kph, but the on-board computer showed a speed of 93kph when the crash took place.
The 45-year-old bus driver, Huang Yuan-chi (黃元基), who suffered minor injuries, has been referred to the local prosecutors’ office for further investigation, police said.
Meanwhile, central government branches, including the National Immigration Agency and the Mainland Affairs Council, said they would assist family members of the victims by issuing emergency visas.