Tour bus flips on its side in crash in Wyoming

(QMI file photo)

(QMI file photo)

Reuters

, Last Updated: 4:37 PM ET

A tour bus carrying vacationers from China crashed and flipped onto its side in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park in an accident that sent 27 people to hospitals, most of whom were treated and released, a park official said on Friday.

Two of the passengers were airlifted to a regional medical center in neighboring Idaho after Thursday's accident and were listed in fair condition on Friday, according to Grand Teton park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.

The accident on a busy highway in the middle of the park blocked the only route connecting Grand Teton, in northwest Wyoming, to nearby Yellowstone National Park, temporarily stranding hundreds of travelers at the height of tourist season, Skaggs said.

Preliminary reports from Grand Teton rangers show the bus, operated by Roaming America Travel of Utah, flipped and skidded on its side down the paved roadway after the driver veered onto the shoulder and then over-corrected, she said.

The bus had been traveling to Yellowstone when the crash occurred on a straightaway with a 45 mile-per-hour (72 km-per-hour) speed limit. The speed of the vehicle and what made it leave the road were not immediately clear, Skaggs added.

The passengers were Chinese nationals, according to the Roaming America Travel.

Yan Zhang, manager of Roaming America Travel, said on Friday the company was awaiting the results of an investigation of the accident by authorities.

"We do not yet know what caused it," she said.

The injured were transported to hospitals by ambulance, helicopter and a passenger van loaned by a guest lodge in Grand Teton park.

Twenty people were treated and released, while five remained in a hospital in Wyoming, Skaggs said. As was the case of the two other passengers who were airlifted to Idaho, their injuries were not considered life-threatening, she said.

"It was a mass casualty incident that could have been so much worse," she said.

Millions of visitors are drawn each summer to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks, attracted by their towering peaks, mountain lakes and forests, and wildlife including grizzly bears and bison.


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