A tour coach carrying a group from a church in Tainan crashed on a mountain road in Nantou County this afternoon leaving one passenger dead and 23 people injured.
The group from the Presbyterian Tainan Datong Christian Church had just visited Qingjing Farm and were on their way home on Provincial Highway 14 when the driver suddenly called out “brake failure” and crashed into a tree at around 3:00pm.
According to reports including United Daily News, some passengers were thrown out of the vehicle on impact. Twenty-four people were rushed to Puli Christian Hospital and Taichung Veterans General Hospital.
A 63 year-old group leader named Zhou was declared dead at the hospital. Another 3 passengers are seriously injured and 20 are described as having minor injuries.
A woman who suffered a broken foot and was not named was quoted in United Daily News as saying that the bus sped up and went out of control on a steep and winding road. The bus driver called out “Watch out, no brakes” as the bus skidded and scraped along a concrete safety barrier, but the passengers had no time to react as the bus slammed into a large tree beside the road.
Liberty Times Network reported that the Kaohsiung-based tour bus was built in 2014 and that the driver was experienced. Other reports noted that the downhill section from Qingjing farm is well known as being steep and narrow. In 2013, a truck carrying a load of watermelons slammed into a bus leaving 2 dead and 16 injured.
The accident comes just days before mandatory seat belt laws come into effect in Taiwan for passengers travelling on long distance buses and tour coaches.