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Bus carrying S. Korean tour group crashes; 15 injured (update)

2012/05/09 20:00:58

Taipei, May 9 (CNA) Fifteen people suffered minor injuries when a bus carrying a tour group from South Korea overturned in the scenic Taroko National Park in eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, transport officials said.

None of the 13 South Korean tourists on board, the tour guide or the driver was severely injured, said the Directorate General of Highways.

Six of the injured passengers were treated at the region's Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital, four were sent to Mennonite Christian Hospital, and five were sent to the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, said the bureau’s division director Hsieh Chieh-tien.

A preliminary investigation found that the tour bus driver was at fault and that he did not have a license to drive large passenger buses, Hsieh said.

The license held by the 59-year-old driver was for trucks, Hsieh said.

"It appears that the driver was not familiar with the vehicle," Hsieh said, adding that it was the driver's first shift on a tour bus.

Hsieh said the bureau has fined the driver and the tour bus company NT$40,000 (US$1,360) each, in accordance with the Act Governing the Punishment of Violations of Road Traffic Regulations.

The bus carrying tourists from Hana Tour Service Inc. was crossing Chinwen Bridge in the park when it overturned at 1:48 p.m.

Each of the tourists had travel insurance coverage of NT$2 million, according to the Tourism Bureau.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)