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Investigator: Driver in Utah crash was on 1st trip for bus company
09.24.2019
    The driver involved in a bus crash in Utah, United States, on Friday that killed four Chinese tourists, including two from Shanghai, was on his first trip for a company that had been in business for a short time, investigators said.
     
    US National Transportation Safety Board is researching the driver’s background, license qualification and medical history, Pete Kotowski, an investigator-in-charge for the agency, told a news conference on Sunday night. He didn’t disclose the driver’s name but said he’s from California. The driver has returned home after being released from the scene of the crash. The agency has not yet interviewed him.
     
    The driver is a Chinese American and he didn’t appear to be intoxicated, the Utah Highway Patrol said previously.
     
    The NTSB is also researching the bus company’s inspection history, hiring practices and corporate safety culture, Kotowski said. The firm, America Shengjia Inc, based in Ontario, California, is cooperating with investigators, he said.
     
    He said it had been in business for a “short period of time,” without specifying.
     
    Reports said the company has two drivers and no records of crash or failed safety inspections in the last two years.
     
    Wang Jing, an official with the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, said yesterday that some relatives of the victims would be flying to the US today.
     
    The cause of the crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah has yet to be determined, Kotowski said. A 10-strong team of investigators has been at the accident site and has talked to passengers. They are examining the crash scene as well as the mid-sized bus. The bus, which was manufactured in 2017, has a capacity of 37 passengers. Kotowski said a full investigation into the crash may take 12 to 24 months.
     
    Utah Highway Patrol officials previously said it appeared the driver swerved and overcorrected, sending the bus rolling over into a guardrail near a highway rest stop a few miles from the national park.
     
    Fifteen people injured in the crash are in hospital, Shanghai Zhuyuan International Travel Agency said. It said its tour guide, the bus provider and the bus driver were all licensed.
     
    The tourists are in five hospitals, the agency said, adding that it will organize those who have been discharged to return home as soon as possible.
     
    Three women and a man, all in their 60s, died in the crash. Two were from Shanghai and the others from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the administration said.
     
    They were on the seventh day of a 16-day trip that would include visits to Yellowstone National Park, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
     
    The group had 29 visitors and a tour guide. Sixteen were from Shanghai, and the rest from Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hebei and Heilongjiang provinces.


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