This photo released by the Garfield County Sheriff's Office shows a tour bus that was carrying Chinese-speaking tourists after it crashed near Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah, killing at least four people and critically injuring up to 15 others, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Sheriff Danny Perkins/Garfield County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Bus with Chinese-speaking tourists crashes in Utah; 4 dead

September 20, 2019 - 6:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A bus carrying Chinese-speaking tourists crashed as it headed to a national park in Utah, killing four people and critically injuring as many as 15 others, authorities said Friday.

Law enforcement photos show the top of a white bus smashed and one side peeling away as the vehicle rests mostly off the side of a road.

Authorities were tending to people on the road. Others stood around covered in shiny blankets.

The crash near Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its narrow red rock spires, left 12 to 15 people with critical injuries and 10 more with minor to serious injuries, the Utah Highway Patrol tweeted.

The tour bus with 30 people aboard crashed near a highway rest stop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the park entrance. The cause was unclear.

The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate the crash.

Injured people were sent to three hospitals.

Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital said it received 17 patients. Patients also were taken to Cedar City and St. George hospitals.

Chinese tourists are the fastest-growing group of tourists to visit Utah, and more than half travel on tour buses, said Vicki Varela, managing director of Utah Office of Tourism.

Bryce Canyon, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, draws more than 2 million visitors a year.

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