ST. GEORGE — Four people are confirmed dead in a tour bus crash on state Route 12 near Bryce Canyon that shut down the highway shortly after noon Friday, authorities say.
The tour bus, which was carrying 30 passengers in addition to the driver, consisted of Chinese nationals. The driver was described as Chinese American by the Utah Highway Patrol. Authorities confirmed via social media Friday that 12-15 individuals were reported to have been injured in addition to those confirmed dead.
Five individuals on the bus were confirmed by UHP to have been in critical condition.
Sgt. Nick Street says they have no updates on the condition of those transported to area medical treatment facilities.
“As far as what led up to this, we’re going back through our investigation and making sure we have an accurate timeline of the bus’ whereabouts, what the bus driver was doing, any possible incidents of faulty equipment on the bus itself,” Street said. “We’ll be doing a lot of investigating as to the cause of this incident.”
According to further statements by the Utah Highway patrol, the bus was eastbound on SR-12 when it traveled off the right side of the road. The driver overcorrected to the left, causing the bus to roll once. The bus landed on a guardrail and eventually stopped on its wheels.
Alerts were sent out by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office asking the public to provide assistance if they are fluent in Chinese. The goal was to aid communication as responders tended to the scene.
SR-12 was closed shortly after noon on Friday and motorists were asked to avoid the area to allow emergency personnel to begin their response and conduct an investigation.
Authorities were still working Friday afternoon to identify those involved in the incident. Street says UHP is working with their federal partners to review the available evidence. He says efforts are currently underway to communicate information to the families of the deceased in China.
“We’re working with the Chinese consulate to make notifications to next of kin,” Street says.
The westbound lanes of SR-12 were blocked for a period. That road has since reopened.
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