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NTSB Investigating Deadly Tour Bus Crash that Tragically Killed 4 in Utah


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating last Friday’s deadly tour bus crash that tragically killed four Chinese tourists outside Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

More than two dozen others sustained injuries, including 12 passengers who remained hospitalized over the weekend.

Utah Tour Bus Crashed After Driver Overcorrected

The September 20th crash occurred shortly after 11:00 a.m., as the Freightliner bus was transporting 30 passengers to Bryce Canyon National Park. For reasons that remain unclear, the vehicle drifted right just 7 miles from the park entrance. The driver overcorrected, causing the bus to fishtail and roll on top of the guardrail.

While Utah State Police believe the driver was “restrained,” it doesn’t appear that any of the passengers were wearing seatbelts.

“It was my understanding that people were flying from the bus,” one first responder told Utah’s ABC-TV Channel 4. “I don’t get very emotional often, but I stood there with a couple of guys that lost their wives. They didn’t know each other, but both of their wives were dead. There was debris everywhere.”

Many Crash Victims Remain in Critical Condition

Four people between the ages of 62 and 68 died at the accident scene, all residents of Shanghai, China.

Paramedics transferred 27 others to Utah hospitals operated by Intermountain Healthcare. Most of those who remain hospitalized were still critical as of Sunday.

The Chinese tourists were on a 16-day trip organized by Shanghai Zhuyuan International Travel Agency. In addition to Bryan Canyon National Park, they planned to stop in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Yellowstone National Park.

Tour Bus Driver Was on First Trip for America Shengjia

America Shengjia owns the tour bus involved in Friday’s crash. According to the NTSB, the driver was a recent hire and on his first trip for the California-based company.

“Our agency has not been able to speak with the driver yet,” lead investigator Pete Kotowski said during a Sunday evening news conference. “He has been interviewed and cooperated with the Utah Highway Patrol.… He has been released and has returned to his home in California. His driving history is still information we’re gathering and have to verify.”

While the NTSB expects to issue a preliminary report on the Utah tour bus crash within weeks, a final report could take anywhere from 12 to 24 months.

According to Kotowski, Board investigators have already begun examining the roadway and collision marks, and will be looking at highway construction and maintenance, signage, grade, slopes, and guardrails. They’ll also be scrutinizing America Shengjia’s safety record, as well as its safety culture and hiring practices.

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