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

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)
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, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Sheriff Danny Perkins/Garfield County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

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

The morning wreck near Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its distinctive landscape of 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. It’s not yet clear what caused the wreck.

This photo released by the Utah Highway Patrol shows a tour bus 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. (Utah Highway Patrol via AP)

Photos show the top of a white bus smashed in and one side peeling away as the vehicle rests mostly off the side of a road near a sign for restrooms. Authorities were tending to people on the road, and others stood around covered in shiny blankets, the photos show.

Highway Patrol Cpl. Chris Bishop said injured victims were sent to three hospitals. One of them, Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital, said it received 17 patients.

FILE – This May 25, 2017 file photo shows a view of the world-famous hoodoos, also called tent rocks, fairy chimneys and earth pyramids, at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Officials say a tour bus has crashed near a national park in southern Utah, killing at least four people. Utah Highway Patrol troopers said Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 that the crash on a highway near Bryce Canyon National Park also left a number of people seriously injured. (AP Photo/Eva Parziale, Fila)

A spokesman for the small hospital in the tiny town of Panguitch tweeted that three people were in critical condition, 11 in serious condition and three in fair condition. Lance Madigan says Intermountain has sent two helicopters and two planes to help transport victims.

Patients also were being taken to Cedar City and St. George, Bishop said.

Bryce Canyon has the world’s largest concentration of irregular columns of rock, called hoodoos, according to the National Park Service website. The park, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, draws more than 2 million visitors a year.

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