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May 29, 2017

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Woman's body found in wreckage of bus crash in China not yet identified

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The tourism bureau of Zhangzhou City (漳州市旅遊局) yesterday announced that rescue workers had discovered the body of a women near a bridge following Friday's bus crash incident.

On Friday, a bus carrying 24 Taiwanese tourists lost control and tumbled 10 meters into the Jiulong River, resulting in two confirmed casualties while five remain missing.

The tourism bureau stated that the body was in the process of being transported to a local morgue for identification to verify whether the women is one of the five Taiwanese tourists who have been missing since the bus crash.

Four surviving tourists who suffered minor injuries returned to Taiwan yesterday evening via a Xiamen Airlines flight to Taipei Songshan Airport. Citing their distressed state, the four tourists declined to be interviewed by the media.

Reports indicate that a local fisherman saved three Taiwanese tourists who had fallen into the Jiulong River following the bus accident.

The Xiamen Tourism Bureau earlier stated that the accident caused two confirmed fatalities and 19 injuries while five remain missing from the busload of 26, including Taiwanese tourists accompanied by a Chinese bus driver and tour guide. Despite the 1,000-strong search party mobilized to recover survivors, efforts remained unsuccessful as of yesterday evening. Rescue workers stated that nets have been set up at estuaries along the Jiulong River, downstream from the site of the crash "in preparation for the worst outcome."

According to reports, Ruan Yong-chin (阮永進), a local fisherman, saved three of the tourists. Ruan stated that he was alerted to the accident by fellow villagers at around 1 p.m. and rushed to launch his fishing boat. Yuan stated that he sailed full speed for a kilometer downstream before encountering one of the tourists, a women in her thirties, struggling to stay afloat in the river. Ruan was told by the woman that another two tourists were stranded further downstream — a man and a women in their fifties — whom he also rescued. Ruan stated that if the three survivors had drifted further downstream toward the dam, he would not have been able to rescue them. In addition to the three that he saved, Ruan also participated in further search and rescue efforts following the accident, transporting another man who had suffered a bone fracture to shore.

Low Price Tour Package Questioned

Meanwhile, Life Tour, the travel agency in charge of the tour, yesterday stated that the travel package was organized by one of the company's tour guides, Chen Yu-ying (陳玉英), and that the itinerary was not marketed to the agency's general clientele.

Reports indicate that the tour was offered at NT$9,900 for a two-person package, a price deemed excessively low by industry commentators. In response, the Travel Agent Association R.O.C. (旅行公會全聯會) stated that Chen is a certified tour guide who was able to offer the itinerary at low prices as the tour was taking place during the low season; it also included stops at specialty shops that in turn subsidized portions of the package.

Victims of the accident are poised to be the first to benefit from an amendment to the Regulations for Administration of Travel Agencies (旅行業管理規則) that became effective on May 21, a measure that has raised the coverage amount for travel insurance from NT$30,000 to NT$100,000.

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