GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 21, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials have released the names of the four people who died Friday when the tour bus in which they were passengers rolled and crashed on State Route 12 near Bryce Canyon National Park.
Utah Highway Patrol has identified the deceased as three women: Ling Geng, age 68; Xiuyun Chen, age 67; Zhang Caiyu, age 62; and a man, ZhongLiang Qiu, age 65.
All of the victims are from Shanghai, China.
UHP tweeted that as of 6 p.m. Saturday, the number of fatalities remained at four.
No updated information was available on the conditions of the other passengers who were injured in the crash.
The tour bus was carrying 29 Chinese nationals and one Chinese American bus driver, according to information released by officials on Friday.
Of the 24 injured passengers who were transported to Intermountain Healthcare facilities on Friday, half have been released, a tweet from Intermountain Medical Center said.
Of those who remained hospitalized, five were in critical condition as of late Saturday morning, and seven were listed in serious condition.
It was not immediately clear if the remaining two people were uninjured or were taken to a facility outside the Intermountain Healthcare system.
It was 11:36 a.m. Friday when the bus crashed on State Route 12 about seven miles west of the Bryce Canyon National Park entrance gate.
Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins spoke to reporters at the scene.
“It appears like he drifted to the left-hand side of the road, possibly overcorrected, something happened,” Perkins said of the driver.
“The bus flipped over, overturned, the bus ended up rolling, and it rolled actually into a guard rail,” Perkins said. The middle of the bus caught the brunt of the impact and was crushed inward.
Perkins said that initially, a language barrier hampered efforts to communicate with the Chinese patients. But a firefighter who responded spoke fluent Chinese, Perkins said, and people from Ruby’s Inn, which is nearby and has an international emphasis, also were able to assist on the scene.
Three helicopters transported some victims, and others were taken to area hospitals by ground ambulances.
The U.S. Chinese Embassy tweeted late Friday afternoon regarding the accident.
“We are saddened to hear about the accident in Utah involving a bus carrying Chinese tourists. We are thankful to authorities in Utah for their assistance. The Embassy has initiated its emergency protocols, sent personnel to the area, and will assist the victims as needed.