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July 23, 2017

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Injured Taiwanese tourists return from mainland on medical charter

TAIPEI--Ten Taiwanese tourists who were injured when their tour bus plunged into a swollen river last week in Fujian Province, China, returned to Taiwan on a medical chartered flight early yesterday.

Six of them, seriously injured, were immediately transferred to ambulances that were waiting on the tarmac to transport them to local hospitals.

Five people were killed when the tour bus carrying 24 tourists from Taiwan skidded off a winding country road and plunged into the muddy waters of the Jiulong River in Zhangzhou, southern Fujian May 23 in rainy weather.

As of Monday, two people remained missing, while the fifth body was found early in the day. These three, along with another victim whose body had been recovered earlier, were two sisters and their two parents.

Except for the Chinese bus driver and tour guide, the 19 survivors are all from Taiwan.

Six tourists who sustained only minor injuries in the accident had returned to Taiwan earlier.

When the medical charter landed at Taoyuan International Airport Monday morning, Chang Hsien-yao, vice chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), was there to greet the injured and 14 relatives who had gone to Zhangzhou after the accident.

Chang said an SEF delegation was scheduled to travel to Zhangzhou later in the day to help determine the cause of the accident and to assist the affected families with insurance claims.

The SEF is a non-governmental organization charged with handling Taiwan's relations with China in the absence of official ties.

In Zhangzhou, four of the deceased were cremated Monday morning and the ashes will be brought back to Taiwan by their families later in the day.

The accident occurred on the second day of the group's four-day tour in southern Fujian.

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