Charter Bus Accident: Bus Carrying Chinese Tourists Crashes into Tree Near Yosemite, Teen Girl Killed And Another Passenger Critically Injured
Oakhurst, CA (September 26, 2016) – A charter bus carrying children and their chaperones from China crashed after visiting Yosemite National Park at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2016, resulting the death of a thirteen-year-old girl. Four passengers had major injuries, including one person critically injured. Six other passengers had moderate to minor injuries.
The group of children and their chaperones were Chinese tourists visiting California. Translators were helping medical personnel speak with the patients but attempts to reach the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles were unsuccessful.
Authorities have confirmed that the bus was going too fast around a curve when it went off the road and hit a tree. The driver was going about 35 to 40 miles per hour north of Lewis Creek when the driver entered a curve. The driver drifted off the west side of the road and the bus hit a tree on its right side. The bus came to rest on its wheels in the southbound lane.
The charter bus is owned and operated by “Top Line Charter of Monterey Park,” in Los Angeles and was equipped with seat belts. The thirteen-year-old girl who died was wearing her seatbelt. The driver is a 53-year-old man from Alhambra in Los Angeles County who was also injured and hospitalized. The driver’s name has not been released yet.
Highway 41 was closed at the crash site for about four hours on the night of the incident. Patients were taken by three helicopters and nine ambulances to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno and Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County. The parking lots of the Vons grocery store in Oakhurst and Batterson ranger station on Highway 41 north of Oakhurst were both used for helicopter landing pads.
Investigators have interviewed witnesses and they are inspecting the bus to determine if any mechanical problems played a role in the fatal accident.
The Valley Children’s Hospital reported that the kids had been looking forward to a pizza party after their trip, and so the Hospital emergency room personnel threw an impromptu pizza party before some of the children were released.
We offer our deepest condolences to all those affected by the bus accident and hope for the swift recovery of those who are injured. We also offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the thirteen-year-old girl who passed.