CEDAR CITY, Utah - A bus carrying 14 Japanese tourists rolled off a highway in Utah on Monday evening, killing three of them and causing seven others serious injuries, local police said Tuesday.
The three fatalities were a 20-year-old man from Osaka Prefecture, a 38-year-old man from Tokyo and a 40-year-old woman also from Tokyo, according to hospital and other sources.
The seven seriously injured were taken to three different hospitals in Salt Lake City and four of them -- two men and two women -- are in intensive-care unit facilities, according to local sources. The three others are one male teen and two women, they said.
The remaining four passengers and the driver, also believed to be Japanese, suffered minor injuries and were sent to hospitals in Cedar City.
The police and the Japanese Foreign Ministry are trying to identify all the passengers on the bus, which crashed into the central divider of the highway around 6:40 p.m. Monday before rolling off the road.
The small bus was en route to Bryce Canyon National Park, a popular tourist destination, from Las Vegas. Pictures from local media show the bus was completely turned over and destroyed.
Some of the passengers appear to have been tossed from the bus due to the impact of the crash.
It was a single vehicle crash on a straight road with a good view, and the local police are now questioning the driver to discover how the accident occurred, including whether the bus had been speeding.
Among the 14 Japanese tourists, eight were traveling in a group tour organized by Nippon Travel Agency Co., four were clients of major travel agency H.I.S. Co. and the remaining two were KNT Co. clients, according to the agencies.
The tourists departed from Narita airport Sunday and were to return to Japan in about a week. The travel agencies consigned the round-trip tour from Las Vegas to other sightseeing spots around there to a tour company in Utah.
Nippon Travel Agency said that among its eight clients, aged between 14 and 52, two from Tokyo died along with the man from Osaka. The other five are two from Aichi Prefecture and three from Osaka Prefecture.
"This is truly heartbreaking," Nippon Travel Agency President Kazuaki Maruo said at a press conference in Tokyo. "We feel very sorry" for what happened in Utah, he said.
H.I.S. said its four clients -- a man from Kagawa Prefecture, two women from Aichi Prefecture and a woman from Kanagawa Prefecture all in their 20s -- were injured but none critically. KNT said one of its clients, a 60-year-old man from Kanagawa Prefecture, was severely injured and the other, a 53-year-old woman also from Kanagawa believed to be a member of his family, only slightly.