Mainland to complete crash probe in three weeks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 12:00am

An investigation into the tour bus crash in Guangxi would be completed within three weeks, mainland officials said yesterday.

The seven dead were named yesterday as Kwok Chun-yin, aged 37, Tsang Hin-pong, 72, tour guide Ng Wai-sin, in his 20s, Wong Yuk, 47, Mok Yu-pik, 57, Tsang Siu-ling, 48, and Chung Sau-ling, 67.

Their bodies were taken to Nanning funeral parlour on Thursday night. Relatives went to the scene of the accident yesterday and burnt incense and paper offerings.

The crash happened at 10am when the bus, apparently swerving to avoid a cyclist, plunged down a cliff in Pingshan village, Long'an county, about 70km west of Nanning. It was on its way to the De Tian Waterfall on the China-Vietnam border.

Speaking at a press conference in Long'an county, Nanning Area administrative officer Wei Gan said the inquiry would be completed within 20 days.

Recalling the accident, one of the injured tourists, Kwok Ben-li, 13, who was sitting at the back of the coach when the accident happened and was still being treated in hospital, said she only realised something was wrong when she heard other members of her family screaming.

'I was very sleepy at that time. Suddenly, I heard my family members screaming . . . I immediately grasped the handrail and protected my sister sitting next to me. The vehicle then plunged down a cliff,' she said.

'Some people sitting in front of me said the accident was due to the driver trying to avoid a car travelling towards us.'

Another injured tourist, who gave her name as Mrs Wong, described the situation after the tragedy. 'Those who were able to helped others to get out of the bus, while some had been thrown out of it as the bus fell down the cliff,' she said.

Mrs Wong said she wanted to return to Hong Kong for treatment to her arm as soon as possible.

Simon Tso Pan, a spokesman for Guangdong (HK) Tours, said several relatives of injured tourists were due to fly to Nanning last night, accompanied by a staff member from the tour company. Twenty had already flown there on Thursday.

Mr Tso said the injured were transferred to Nanning hospital yesterday, except one who was too badly hurt to be moved.

'The medical and telecommunication facilities there are much better than those in Long'an county. Besides, Blue Cross [an insurance company] has already sent a doctor to Nanning,' Mr Tso said.

But another man was airlifted to Hong Kong last night. Family members of Wong Yiu-wing, 50, arranged the charter flight at a cost of $230,000, which will be paid by his insurance company. An ambulance was waiting at Chek Lap Kok and he was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Chan Man-feng, head of traffic control with the Guangdong Public Security Bureau, said rules regulating drivers' hours had been put in place.