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TRAVEL AGENCY FINED OVER TOUR BUS CRASH

Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) The Tourism Bureau has slapped a local travel agency with a fine of NT$50,000 for negligence in failing to protect clients' travel safety that wound up claiming the lives of six people and injuring 15 others in a bus crash Monday.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the bureau said the travel agency should not have rented a coach driven by an inexperienced driver who obtained his bus driver's licence less than three years ago. Worse still, the travel agency allowed the bus to travel along a section of road that is off-limits to large vehicles.
The bus, carrying 20 Chinese tourists and a Taiwanese tour guide, skidded off Highway No. 21, better known as the Central Cross-Island Highway, en route to Shuili from Tungpu in central Nantou County Monday evening.
Five Chinese tourists and the Taiwanese tour guide were killed in the accident and 15 other Chinese tourists were injured, with two listed in serious condition.
A 26-member delegation, composed of 19 next of kin of Chinese tourists killed or injured in the accident and seven Chinese tourist officials and travel industry executives arrived in Taipei late Wednesday to help in dealing with the aftermath.
Officials from Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, Mainland Affairs Council and the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation greeted the Chinese delegation at Taoyuan International Airport and assisted them in passing through immigration inspection and customs.
The Chinese delegation then traveled directly to Nantou where the bodies of the five deceased Chinese tourists are awaiting identification by their family members.
Huang Dazhung, deputy director of the Dalian City Tourism Bureau who is heading the Chinese delegation, thanked Taiwan's authorities and private sector for all their assistance on behalf of family members of the victims. It is hoped that the aftermath can be handled smoothly and the cause of the tragedy determined, he added.
Seventeen members of the Chinese tour group who were traveling on another tour bus that was not affected by the accident Monday left for home via Hong Kong Wednesday afternoon.
Family members of each of the five deceased Chinese tourists will be compensated NT$5.5 million (US$166,667), and the 15 injured in the accident can each receive up to NT$480,000 in damages, Tourism Bureau officials.
The compensation for the Chinese tourists who died covers casualty insurance and auto liability insurance policies purchased by the host travel agency and tour bus company for all Chinese tourists as well as subsidies from a Taipei tour bus operators association, the officials said.
(By Sofia Wu) enditem/Li


Updated : 2021-03-01 00:03 GMT+08:00