Fresno, CA — A Yosemite tour bus crashed on Saturday evening, leaving 16 passengers injured. The bus went off the road and over an embankment.
The Yosemite National Park bus was carrying 17 people, including the driver, when the crash happened on Highway 41 near local road 630. The highway patrol’s Merced dispatch office stated that all injuries were minor and the 16 people hurt were taken to local hospitals to be treated.
Officers reported that the bus was returning from a visit to the park when the driver lost control. The bus then rolled onto an embankment, forcing several passengers to be thrown to the driver’s side of the bus.
If it weren’t for a tree stopping it, the bus would have continued to slide down the ravine, possibly causing worse injuries. The majority of the injured were elderly, though a tour guide was also hurt. California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Jobinger stated that the accident is currently under investigation.
Jobinger added, “At this point the cause was the bus was traveling at unsafe speed and went off the road.” The bus was traveling down a winding section of the highway when the incident happened. The bus was towed to an impound yard where it will be inspected to see if a mechanical failure may have contributed to the accident.
The only uninjured person in the Yosemite bus crash was the driver, Changefeng Liu, 49, of Fremont, California. He was not arrested and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.
Investigators are not yet sure what speed the bus was going at the time of the accident. The scenic highway is known for sharp curves where the speed limit drops to 35 mph at times.
The tour bus is operated by Seven Happiness Tour & Charter, an organization that specializes in giving tours to the Chinese-American community. The company is based in Burlingame, California. Charles Wu, who works at the company, said that the owner was not available for comment. He added, “Most of them [passengers] were Chinese people from the Bay Area.”
There is no word on whether charges will be filed against the driver or if there was a mechanical issue with the Yosemite tour bus that crashed on Saturday.
[Image via Brocken Inaglory]