A tour bus driver fractured both his legs and 35 passengers suffered light injuries after their vehicle hit the wall of a house and ended up in a rice paddy.
The accident occurred at about 11am, when the bus was on its way to Meihua Lake (梅花湖) in Dongshan Township (東山), Yilan County, the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) said.
The DGH said the passengers were members of the Evergreen Society of the Chengde Community in Taipei. Most of them were senior citizens.
The passengers, who sustained minor injuries, were treated at Poh-Ai Hospital and Saint Mary’s Hospital. Television news footage showed the rescuers had a hard time pulling the driver out from his seat because his legs were trapped in front.
Tour group leader Chen Chou-ping (陳洲平) said that 86 people participated in the day trip to Yilan County. He said they rented two buses for the tour to visit Aboriginal villages in Dongshan Township first and later the temples near Meihua Lake.
The DGH said the driver was 55-year-old Fu Pao-sheng (傅寶勝), who holds valid licenses to operate large passenger vehicles and tour buses.
According to DGH records, Fu had nine traffic violations and had been fined once for not having his license checked, as required every three months.
Fu owns the tour bus, which is registered under the Taipei-based New Aloha Tour Bus Co, it added.
The tour bus was manufactured in 2001 and does not have any record of traffic violations.
The DGH said the accident was not caused by blown-out tires.
On Wednesday a tour bus slid off a precipitous road at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien County. Its driver, 59-year-old Chen Cheng-chin (陳正欽), was found to own a license to drive large trucks, but not tour buses.
In view of the recent accidents involving tour buses, the DGH said it would work with the National Joint Tour Bus Association to draft measures to enhance tour bus safety and educate tour bus drivers.