4 Dead, More Injured in Tour Bus Crash in Utah: Highway Patrol

September 20, 2019 Updated: September 21, 2019

At least four people have died and others were critically hurt in a tour bus crash in Utah, according to news reports.

“At least four fatalities are confirmed” to the Utah Highway Patrol, the department said on Twitter.

Between 12 and 15 bus passengers suffered very critical injuries in the incident, the highway patrol also wrote.

“We are confirming the tourists are Chinese speaking tourists,” the highway patrol also wrote.

The crash took place near Utah’s Bryce Canyon on State Route 12, officials said.

Employees of the nearby Bryce Canyon Resort told CNN that their manager was called to help first responders translating Chinese.

Hotel staff said the manager is one of the few Chinese speakers in the area, according to the network.

Lance Madigan, a spokesman with Intermountain Healthcare, told CNN that some of the victims will be treated at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch, Utah.

tour bus crash officials tending
In this photo released by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services personnel assist victims of a bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah, on Sept. 20, 2019. (Sheriff Danny Perkins/Garfield County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told the Deseret News, a local newspaper, that he heard that at least 30 were injured.

“This pretty overwhelming for a little county of 4,900 people,” he told the paper. “This is just horrible for us, and we feel terrible for those who are injured and their families.”

A map of Bryce National Park in Utah (Google Maps)

State Route 12 was also closed for several miles west of the park, officials said.

Other details about the crash are not clear.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

utah tour bus crash medium
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, on Sept. 20, 2019. (Sheriff Danny Perkins/Garfield County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Bus Crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a 2019 report (pdf), there were 1,113 school transportation-related fatal motor vehicle crashes between 2008 and 2017.

“Between 2008 and 2017, there have been 1,241 people killed in school-transportation-related crashes—an average of 124 fatalities per year. Twenty-one percent (264) of these fatalities were of school-age children (18 and younger),” the report said.

Most of the people who died in the crashes, or 70 percent, were in other vehicles. Another 20 percent were nonoccupants such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

Among the 126 school bus occupants who died in school transportation-related crashes during those years, 55 were drivers and 71 were passengers. The majority of those killed out of pedestrians and occupants were 19 or older.

“From 2008 to 2017, there were 264 school-age children who died in school transportation-related crashes: 61 were occupants of school transportation vehicles, 100 were occupants of other vehicles, 97 were pedestrians, 5 were pedalcyclists, and 1 was other nonoccupant,” the report stated.

Most of the crashes took place between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m., the administration noted.