US tour, school bus crash kills 4

  • 25/09/2015
Investigators are pictured at the scene of a crash between a Ride the Ducks vehicle and a charter bus (Reuters)
Investigators are pictured at the scene of a crash between a Ride the Ducks vehicle and a charter bus (Reuters)

A school bus carrying international students has collided with a tour vehicle in the US city of Seattle, killing at least four people and injuring dozens of others, officials said.

In addition to the four fatalities, 51 people were injured, including 15 critically, with several needing surgery, authorities reported.

At least one Chinese person was among the victims, the foreign ministry in Beijing said Friday (local time).

Local news reports said the four killed were all students.

Images of the accident on a busy bridge showed extensive damage to the left side of the bus, part of which was completely sheared off by the force of the crash.

Melissa Mixon, spokeswoman for North Seattle College, said 45 students and staff with the school's international program were on board the bus.

One of the hospitals that accepted victims said four male Japanese students were treated but not seriously injured, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

An 18-year-old Japanese student who was on the bus told NHK that there were five to six Japanese students on board.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular briefing that China expressed "deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured."

"The accident occurred when a charter bus travelling with the students collided with a 'Ride the Ducks' tour vehicle," Mixon said.

The college hosts some 1000 international students from 50 countries, including China, Korea and Japan, according to its website.

The school year is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Witnesses said the tour vehicle appeared to have something wrong with its front left tyre as it swerved and hit a 4WD before crashing into the school bus coming the opposite way.

Bradley Sawhill, who witnessed the crash, told the Seattle Times that everything happened very fast.

"I got out of my car and there were bodies just everywhere," he said. "People lying in the street."