Tourists' Grand Canyon trip ends in bus crash

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 3:28am

A charter bus carrying foreign tourists back to Las Vegas from the Grand Canyon has crashed on an Arizona highway, killing the driver and injuring more than 20 passengers, six seriously.

Arizona highway patrol spokesman Carrick Cook said most of the passengers appeared to be from Asia or Europe, but he didn't have details.

The bus was northbound on Highway 93 on Friday night, nearing the Nevada state line, when the driver suffered a physical problem and lost control, the Arizona highway patrol said. The company that offered the tour said the driver may have suffered a heart attack.

The vehicle hit a ditch, tore up a small hill and bounced and lurched over rough terrain for about 200 metre before stopping, damaging the front end but remaining upright.

"We believe the driver experienced some sort of medical condition and he just went off the road," Cook said. No other vehicles were involved.

All 48 passengers were injured, but 27 were walking wounded with mainly bumps and bruises. "The passengers were pretty much bouncing around," he said.

The six most seriously hurt were flown by helicopter to University Medical Centre in Las Vegas, while 15 others with less severe injuries were taken to area hospitals by road.

UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen said the six were being treated for nonlife-threatening injuries. She said most of them were over 50.

It was the third time in recent years that a tour bus crash in the area claimed lives.

Two years ago, two people were killed and several others injured in a crash.

In January 2009, seven people died and 10 were injured when a charter bus carrying a group of Chinese tourists on a return trip from the Grand Canyon crashed on US 93, the main highway leading to Hoover Dam.