Taiwanese woman dies in tour coach accident in Norway
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese tourist and a local citizen died in a tour bus accident in western Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.
August 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said that a tour bus carrying 23 Taiwanese tourists collided with a commuter bus on Monday afternoon, Norway time.
A 26-year-old Taiwanese woman died in the accident, two Taiwanese tourists suffered severe head trauma and seven others had minor injuries.
According to Kao, the two with severe injuries were sent to Haukeland Hospital while the rest of the injured were sent to Forde and Sogndal Medical Centers.
A Norwegian woman also died in the incident, according to the Norwegian News Agency. Helicopters were dispatched to the scene to transport the injured tourists and passengers.
The tour bus had reportedly detoured from its planned route due to a tunnel closure.
Kao said that the 23 Taiwanese tourists were part of a group organized by the Artisan Tour (凱旋旅行社) and that the tour leader had already contacted the Taipei Representative Office in Norway. Officials from the representative office are on their way to visit the injured tourists, Kao said.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the woman who died had traveled to Norway with her father, who suffered minor injuries in the accident.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation cited a bus company employee as saying that the road on which the accident occurred is too narrow for large vehicles. A spokesman for the country's freeway bureau, however, said that the road in question is definitely able to handle large vehicles.
Artisan Tour said that the 23 tourists left Taiwan on Aug. 8 — Father's Day in Chinese communities — and were originally scheduled to return to Taiwan on Aug. 20. Those not injured in the crash are currently staying in a hotel and do not plan to continue their trips, the tour group said. Arrangements for them to return home will be made as soon as possible.
The tour bus was heading to a famous tourist attraction, Sognefjord, which is the largest fjord in Norway. Last week, a truck from Poland caught fire in the second longest tunnel in the same area that the tour bus crash occurred. Seventy-three people, including tourists from China, France, and Germany, were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.