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Remains of 4th China bus accident victim found

SHANGHAI/TAIPEI--Rescuers have discovered the remains of a Taiwanese tourist who went missing after the tour bus on which he was traveling plunged into a river in southern China's Fujian Province Friday, the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association said Sunday.

The victim was identified as 50-year-old Chen Chun-yuan, one of four people previously unaccounted for in the accident that already had three confirmed fatalities, the Taipei-based association said.

The other three confirmed dead are Tung A-chu (female), 46; Lin Tai-ping (male), 68; and Lai Chen-yueh (female), 61.

The bus carrying 26 people — 24 of them from Taiwan — plunged into the Jiulong River in Zhangzhou City in rainy conditions May 23.

Nineteen of the 26 passengers were rescued from the river soon after the accident occurred. The discovery of Chen's body leaves three people — all Taiwanese — still unaccounted for.

Two Taiwanese tourists arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Sunday morning, two days after a tour bus in which they were traveling plunged into a river in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, which left three people dead and four missing.

One of them, Chiu Ying-chen, told reporters at the airport that the river had swept them far away and they had to wait for a long time for the rescue team.

The bus carrying 26 people, including a Chinese driver and a Chinese tour guide, fell into the Jiulong River in Zhangzhou City in rainy weather around 1 p.m. on Friday. Of the 21 people who were rescued from the wreckage of the bus and the muddy waters of the river, 19 survived, including the driver.

Asked about a boy who reportedly saw his father drown in the river, both of whom were part of the tour group, Chiu said that the man pushed his son away so that he could be rescued.

Four other tourists returned the previous evening. All six Taiwanese tourists received minor injuries in the accident.

Some tourists told CNA in Taiwan Taoyuan Airport that they still felt scared while thinking of what they had gone through after the bus plunged into the river.

The third body found, about 10 kilometers downstream from the accident site on Saturday, could be Lai Chen-yueh, a 61-year-old woman. DNA tests are being done to identify the body.

The family of Lin Tai-ping, a 68-year-old man who also died in the accident, came to the mortuary to conduct Buddhist rituals and then went to the banks of the river to summon his soul on Sunday morning.

A CNA correspondent at the scene said that the search and rescue personnel are trying to locate the four missing people and hoped there are survivors on Sunday morning.

A chartered flight by Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways will soon be dispatched to bring back Taiwanese tourists who were seriously injured in a bus accident in China, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said Sunday.

The chartered flight will depart for Xiamen in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian at 11 p.m. Sunday, to bring back 10 injured Taiwanese in a tour group that was traveling in Fujian's Zhangzhou City when the accident occurred two days earlier, the Tourism Bureau said.

The flight is expected to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 4:30 a.m. Monday. It will also be carrying 14 family members of the Taiwanese tourists, the bureau added.

After the injured tourists arrive in Taiwan, they will be taken to National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Saint Paul's Hospital in Taoyuan and China Medical University Hospital in Taichung for further treatment.

The Zhangzhou government in Fujian said that as of Saturday evening, more than 2,500 personnel and 184 vessels had been dispatched to take part in search and rescue efforts, according to a local media report in Zhangzhou.

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