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16 S'poreans hurt in tour bus crash

A bus carrying Singaporean tourists on the Japanese island of Hokkaido crashed yesterday morning, the second such accident in six weeks.

Seventeen people, including a tour guide, were injured.

The tour bus veered off the snow-covered road, near the junction of the Shimukappu 237 Highway and the Doto Expressway exit, at around 11am, hitting roadside poles.

Mr Ho Han Chong, an artist with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, was on the bus. He was on holiday with his wife, two daughters and his mother-in-law.

Mr Ho told The New Paper that it happened very fast. "Children were crying inside the coach. At first we thought the driver had died... Then he slowly got up from his seat, made his way to the back and opened the escape door."

Although his wife and daughters were not hurt, his 68-year-old mother-in-law suffered a fractured left leg.

Mr Ho, who had minor injuries on his face, posted a photo of his bloodied chin on his Facebook page.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore said the Singaporeans were treated for light injuries and discharged from hospital, adding: "The Singapore Embassy in Tokyo has been working closely with the local Japanese authorities and the Singaporean tour company to render consular assistance to the 16 Singaporeans."

On Oct 23, a bus heading for Sapporo in Hokkaido, with 33 tourists from Singapore and a Japanese tour conductor, was involved in a head-on collision with a truck.

Both drivers died, but none of the Singaporeans is believed to have been seriously hurt.

- Judith Tan

HokkaidoTourismUncategorised