TAIPEI, Taiwan – At least 32 people were killed and 12 injured when a bus carrying Taiwanese tourists on a trip to view cherry blossoms flipped over on an expressway ramp in Taiwan’s capital on Monday.
The bus was carrying 44 people when it crashed Monday evening on the No. 5 expressway, the Taipei city fire department said.
“It happened on a curve, so the bus flipped and that could be due to excess speed,” said Tu Bing-cheng, a Taipei city official. “The whole frame of the bus changed shape, got crushed and left no openings.”
Most of the passengers – senior citizens returning from a day trip to a popular cherry blossom viewing site – were trapped underneath the crushed vehicle and rescue personnel used a crane to pry the vehicle open.
Thirty-two people, all Taiwanese, were confirmed dead and the remaining passengers were sent to hospitals for treatment, Tu said.
The bus belonged to a private company, he said. It was taking tourists back from a trip to see cherry blossoms when it crashed, Taipei city Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-ji said.
Authorities are still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident. Investigators said driver fatigue could not be ruled out, the Apple Daily reported.
A bus driver working for the travel-agency that sold the tour told a local broadcaster that some colleagues had previously complained about the tiring assignment.
A bus accident in Taiwan last July killed 26 tourists from mainland China, raising concern from officials in Beijing about travel safety.
Our hearts and prayers go out to all those involved.
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