North Korea bus crash: 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans killed in 'major traffic accident'

Two remain in 'acutely serious condition'

Monday 23 April 2018 12:20
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Footage shows scene of bus crash in North Korea

At least 36 people have died in a bus crash in North Korea, according to Chinese officials who described it as a “major traffic accident”.

Among the dead were 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans, China's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Another two Chinese tourists were badly injured and were in “acutely serious condition”, it added.

A Chinese medical team accompanied by diplomats to assist the North Korean side, it said.

Footage on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV showed the mangled wreckage of a blue bus in the dark with rain falling. Rescue vehicles were on the scene, and the injured were shown being treated in a hospital.

In a Twitter post, the channel which also broadcasts in English, said a tour bus had fallen off a bridge, killing more than 30 people, but it later deleted the message.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the accident happened in in North Hwanghae province, south of North Korean capital Pyongyang.

The four North Koreans who died were described as “workers". The secretive communist state requires that all visitors are accompanied by minders and it is thought this was the case with those who were killed.

Other details about those killed and injured and the circumstances of the accident were not immediately disclosed.

The countries share a lengthy border and a friendship dating back to China’s military intervention on the side of the North in the 1950-53 Korean War.

China remains Pyongyang’s largest trading partner, although commerce between the two nations has dropped off by about 90 per cent under United Nations sanctions.

Chinese tourists are among the largest groups of visitors to the isolated state, where they often pay homage at sites related to China’s participation in the war.

Visitors from the country make up about 80 percent of all foreign tourists to North Korea, according to South Korean think-tank the Korea Maritime Institute, which estimates that tourism generates revenue of about $44m (£31m) each year.

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