Ice­land bus flips, killing, in­jur­ing Chi­nese tourists

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By BO LE­UNG in Lon­don, PAN MENGQI and MO JINGXI in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at bole­ung@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A pas­sen­ger bus flipped over on a nar­row Ice­land road, killing one Chi­nese stu­dent and crit­i­cally in­jur­ing 12 others on Wed­nes­day.

One of the pas­sen­gers, a stu­dent from Brighton Sus­sex Univer­sity sur­named Wang, de­scribed the scene as chaotic.

Wang said she was sit­ting near the rear of the bus as they trav­eled to the Jokul­sar­lon glacier la­goon when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened.

“I was just look­ing at the scenery and didn’t see what was hap­pen­ing in front,” she said. “Sud­denly, I felt the bus sway­ing from side to side, and then it just top­pled over.”

The bus was car­ry­ing some 45 Chi­nese tourists when the ve­hi­cle skid­ded off the road after a rear-end col­li­sion with a car at about 11 am.

It flipped onto its side, trap­ping two peo­ple un­der­neath, po­lice said.

Wang man­aged to get out un­in­jured. “It was to­tally chaotic, but I felt very calm and called the Chi­nese em­bassy im­me­di­ately,” she said.

Wang praised res­cue teams for their fast re­sponse and pass­ing mo­torists who stopped to help.

The car and the bus crashed near Kirkjubae­jark­laus­tur, about 250 kilo­me­ters east of the cap­i­tal Reyk­javik.

The Chi­nese em­bassy in Ice­land had launched an emer­gency re­sponse to the ac­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry.

One Chi­nese tourist died at the scene. Three he­li­copters trans­ferred the se­verely in­jured pas­sen­gers to a hos­pi­tal and a re­lief sta­tion was set up for the other 33 pas­sen­gers.

A China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion re­port quoted lo­cal media as say­ing the tourists on the bus were mainly Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing in the United King­dom.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing on Thurs­day, For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman

Sud­denly, I felt the bus sway­ing from side to side, and then it just top­pled over.”

A stu­dent pas­sen­ger

Hua Chun­y­ing said the em­bassy had sent per­son­nel to the hos­pi­tal to visit and com­fort the in­jured tourists and asked author­i­ties in Ice­land to con­duct a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ac­ci­dent.

“The For­eign Min­istry and Chi­nese em­bassy in Ice­land are pay­ing a great deal of at­ten­tion to the ac­ci­dent, and the em­bassy launched an emer­gency re­sponse mech­a­nism im­me­di­ately,” she said.

Bus com­pany owner Fjalar Ul­fars­son said the Chi­nese group was on the fourth day of a week­long visit to Ice­land when the ac­ci­dent took place.

“The road there is nar­row and had some ic­ing from what I gather,” Ul­fars­son said.

“The min­istry and em­bassy will con­tinue to closely fol­low the lat­est de­vel­op­ments, and ac­tively pro­vide nec­es­sary as­sis­tance to Chi­nese tourists in­volved,” Hua said.

Po­lice said an ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion sug­gested the car slowed down in front of the bus while at­tempt­ing to turn to­ward a look­out point.

The car’s driver and a pas­sen­ger were vis­it­ing Ice­land from Lithua­nia. They were not in­jured, of­fi­cials said.

Around 47,500 Chi­nese have vis­ited Ice­land in the past six months, ac­count­ing for 3.6 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of vis­i­tors in the pe­riod, data from the Ice­landic Tourist Board showed.

Ouyang Xueyan contributed to this story.

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