Iceland bus flips, killing, injuring Chinese tourists
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.