Utah authorities identify 4 Chinese tourists killed in bus crash

(CNN) — The four Chinese tourists killed in a bus crash in southern Utah have been identified, the Utah Highway Patrol said on Twitter.

Ling Geng, 68; Xiuyun Chen, 67; Zhang Caiyu, 62; and ZhongLiang Qiu, 65, all of Shanghai, died when the bus wrecked Friday on Utah Highway 12 near Bryce Canyon National Park, the UHP said.

Thirty people, including the driver, were on the bus when it “ran off the road and rolled into the guardrail,” the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Of the 22 people injured in the crash, 12 were still hospitalized Saturday, said Lance Madigan, a spokesman for Intermountain Healthcare.

Madigan said 10 patients remain at Intermountain Dixie Regional hospital, five in critical condition and five in serious condition. Two patients in serious condition remain at Utah Valley Hospital, he said. The others were released.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it sent a 10-person team to assist in the investigation.

A student from Taiwan who attends Southern Utah University helped translate after the crash, reported CNN affiliate KSTU.

“I got a call from the sheriff’s office that there is an emergency accident and, ‘I need somebody who can speak Chinese to translate for the tourists,'” Jason Chang said. “I know they cannot speak English, so I know they must be really panicked.”

Chang told KSTU he spent hours at a hospital helping doctors and nurses communicate with the patients, then assisted law enforcement officers interviewing witnesses.

“They (the bus crash victims) told me they never expected this kind of accident and they just don’t know what to do or how to react,” Chang said. “Some of them (were) really in pain.”

Employees of the nearby Bryce Canyon Resort told CNN their manager was called to the crash scene to assist first responders with translating for the Chinese tour group. The manager is one of the few Chinese speakers in the area, the hotel staff said.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington said it has sent officials to the area to assist the victims.

“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,” the embassy tweeted.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert thanked first responders for their work and sent a message to the victim’s families.

“My heart sank when I heard the news that a tour bus crashed near Bryce Canyon. I grieve with all who lost loved ones in this crash and I’m grateful for the quick work of first responders, as well as all those who are volunteering to act as translators,” he tweeted.

The wreck was about 7 miles northwest of the entrance of the Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce Canyon is about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City and just over 40 miles north of the Utah-Arizona border.

Utah’s Highway 12 is considered one of the most varied and scenic drives in the country. It connects a number of national and state parks, including Bryce Canyon National Park and Red Canyon on the Dixie National Forest.

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