TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A tour bus carrying 26 students and one teacher from National Cishan Agricultural & Industrial Vocational Senior High School in Kaohsiung smashed into a low clearance in Taoyuan's Luzhou District yesterday evening, injuring five, reported Liberty Times.
The students were just wrapping up the second day of a three-day, two-night graduation tour of northern Taiwan and were heading to their lodging for the night when the bus collided with a height clearance bar for a bridge, smashing windows, ripping part of the bus's frame, injuring five, and dragging the heavy steel bar as it plowed through.
Among those injured was an 18-year-old male student surnamed Yang (楊) who suffered a 5 centimeter laceration to his forehead and several broken teeth, but he did not lose consciousness and has no life-threatening injuries, but was sent to the hospital for further medical treatment.
According to an initial police investigation, the driver was not intoxicated at the time of the crash, but he was unfamiliar with the route and while using GPS he took a wrong turn and did not notice that Rongxing Bridge had a height limit of 2.5 meters, while the tour bus is 3.45 meters in height.
The bus had a total of 29 people on board, including the 26 students, one teacher, the driver, and tour guide. In addition to Yang, others who sustained injuries in the crash included the 58-year-old driver, surnamed Chiu (邱), who who suffered a contusion to his ribs and chest pain. The teacher, also surnamed Yang (楊), 39, suffered lacerations to her right forehead and right hand.
In addition, two 17-year-old students, a male surnamed Chang (張) and a female surnamed Lin (林), both sustained minor abrasions, but fortunately did not lose consciousness and did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation.
The latest tour bus crash comes scarcely a week after the fatal Aloha coach crash which resulted in six deaths and 11 injuries, and has been attributed to the driver allegedly searching for or fidgeting with his smartphone. Numerous other bus crashes in recent years have led to calls for better management of work hours for the drivers, increased inspections of vehicles, and the mandatory use of seat belts.