Television Broadcasts (TVB)

34 hurt as Taiwanese tour bus overturns

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 February, 2012, 12:00am

Thirty-two mainlanders and two Taiwanese were injured, 10 seriously, when a tour bus overturned on a slippery section of highway in Hualien last night, Taiwan's TVBS television station reported.

One passenger had no pulse and stopped breathing but was resuscitated, while video footage showed a motionless passenger arriving at a local hospital.

Thirty-two passengers, mostly Peking Opera performers from 18 provinces visiting Taiwan on a cultural exchange, and a Taiwanese driver and a tour guide were on board when the accident happened shortly after 6pm. The injured were taken to three hospitals for treatment.

ETTV reported that the bus driver, who was being investigated by police, was suspected of speeding when visibility was poor due to rain. He hit the brake suddenly when the bus was too close to a vehicle in front, it said.

TVBS reported that the bus had passed an inspection earlier this month.

The tour group arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday and was scheduled to leave on Monday.

The Taiwanese government began allowing mainland tourists to visit the island in July 2008. By the end of last year, more than three million had taken trips to Taiwan.

But the number of mainland tourists killed in road accidents has risen as visitor numbers have soared.

Twenty passengers, all from Guangdong province, died in October 2010 after their bus was hit by a landslide on the Suhua Highway, northeast of Ilan county, when typhoon Megi lashed the island.

In April last year, five mainland visitors were killed and 50 members of five mainland tour groups were seriously injured when a small train overturned in the Ali Mountain area.

Meanwhile, Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong continued his visit to Taiwan yesterday, meeting Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin.

They spoke of promoting cultural, economic and trade exchanges between the two cities.