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Tour bus crashes in Taiwan, at least 32 dead

14 February 2017

The bus was carrying 45 people on board, including a driver and a guide, when it turned over on a ramp, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported, citing rescuers.

"The passengers are all Taiwanese and mostly older people", said Chen Chih-min from Taipei City fire department, which confirmed the crashed vehicle was a sightseeing tour bus.

Taiwan News cited a preliminary investigation by highway police as saying that the group was on its way back to Taipei follow a trip to the Wuling Farm to view the cherry blossom.

Authorities are still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident.

Investigators said the driver of that bus intentionally set fire to it in a suicide bid before it careered into a crash barrier.

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Many passengers were trapped under the crushed bus, and rescue personnel used a crane to pry the vehicle open.

Of 44 people on the bus, 30 were pronounced dead at the scene and two died in hospital, the fire department said, adding that 12 people were still being treated in hospitals around Taipei, the capital.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau said that the tour had been organised by the Tieh Lien Hua Travel Agency and that numerous passengers were elderly.

The crash is the latest accident involving tour buses in Taiwan.