4 from HK die in mainland crashes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 12:00am

Husband and wife killed in Guangxi; father and son in Beijing

Four Hong Kong tourists died and 20 others from the city were injured in two mainland bus accidents yesterday.

A couple with two young children were killed when a tour bus plunged four metres off a bridge in Guangxi at 10am. At about the same time, a collision between a tour bus and a truck in Beijing left a Hong Kong father and son and three other people dead.

In the Guangxi accident, in which 19 people were injured, the bus driver lost control on a popular tourist route between Guilin and Longsheng and his vehicle crashed down a slope.

The injured, aged between five and 68, were 15 Hong Kong tourists, two tour guides from the city, one mainland tourist and the mainland driver.

The Hong Kong travellers were on a five-day tour organised by Miramar Express.

The dead couple, a 43-year-old man and his 34-year-old wife, were trapped in the wreckage. Their children, aged eight and nine, survived with minor injuries.

One of the Hong Kong passengers, a woman in her 20s, suffered severe head injuries and remained in hospital in Longsheng, Miramar Express tour manager Francis Lai Yu-hung said. Hospital staff said she needed emergency surgery.

Twelve Hong Kong people, including the two guides, remained in hospital last night. Six members of the group who were treated and discharged were booked to return to Hong Kong on a flight at noon today.

The group was heading to one of Guangxi's terraced rice fields two hours northeast of Guilin. Mr Lai said it was rainy and foggy at the time.

News agency reports said initial investigations indicated the driver, who suffered minor injuries, had been speeding. But Mr Lai denied the bus had been travelling too fast or was overloaded.

In Beijing, a 43-year-old man and his 12-year-old son died. They were from a family of five who joined a mainland tour in Zhongshan , Guangdong, and were the only Hong Kong people on the bus.

Three other passengers died and 24 people were hurt when a charcoal-laden truck rammed into the bus in the Changping district.

At least one of the drivers was detained for questioning.

Acting chief executive Henry Tang Ying-yen expressed his condolences to the families of those who died.

The Immigration Department has set up a hotline on 2829 3010. Miramar also set up a hotline on 2315 5139.

Three years ago, seven Hong Kong people were killed and 22 tourists injured when a bus, apparently swerving to avoid a cyclist, plunged down a cliff in Pingshan, 70km west of Nanning.

That accident, which occurred as the bus was on its way to the popular De Tian Waterfall on the China-Vietnamese border in Guangxi, also happened at 10am.