SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Chinese-speaking tourist bus crashed near a national park in southern Utah, killing at least four and severely injuring up to 15 others, the authorities said on Friday.
The morning wreck near Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its characteristic landscape of narrow red crags, left 12 to 15 people with "very critical injuries," the Utah Highway Patrol said on Twitter.
Highway Patrol Cpl. Chris Bishop told The Associated Press he expects a higher number of casualties.
The tourbus with 30 people aboard crashed near a motorway service area about 11 kilometers from the park entrance. It's still not clear what caused the crash.
Photos of Highway Patrol have the top of a white bus smashed and one side peeling off because most of the vehicle is off the road near a toilet sign. The authorities took care of the people in the street, and others stood in shiny blankets, as the photos show.
Bishop said injured victims were taken to three hospitals. One of them, the Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital, said it had taken 17 patients.
A spokesman for the small hospital in the tiny town of Panguitch tweeted that three people were in critical condition, eleven in severe condition and three in fair condition. According to Lance Madigan, Intermountain has sent two helicopters and two planes to help the victims with the transport.
Patients were also taken to Cedar City and St. George.
Bryce Canyon has the world's largest concentration of irregular stone pillars, called Hoodoos, according to the National Park Service website. The park, about 480 kilometers south of Salt Lake City, attracts more than 2 million visitors annually.
This story has been corrected to show that the photos are from the Highway Patrol.