Fourteen tourists from Hong Kong perish in bus-crash in southern Egypt

A tour bus overturned on a highway in southern Egypt early Tuesday, killing 14 tourists from Hong Kong and injuring 30 other people, some seriously, Egyptian officials said. The bus was on the outskirts of the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, heading toward the ancient historic city of Luxor to the southwest, when it rolled over while speeding around a bend in the highway, said Egypt's official Middle East News Agency.

Some of the injured were in serious condition, while others were in moderate or good condition, said Mohammed al-Sayed, the director of Hurghada General Hospital, speaking to The Associated Press by telephone.

Al-Sayed said the country's central Health Ministry was sending extra doctors and medical equipment to Hurghada by air, and that there were no immediate plans to fly any wounded to Cairo hospitals. The tour guide, an Egyptian who also was wounded, was in fair condition, the hospital director said.

A total of 43 tourists were on the bus 16 men, 24 women and three children, said a spokesman for the tour agency, Jetour, in Hong Kong. All 14 dead and 29 of the 30 wounded were from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's security chief, Ambrose Lee, said four immigration officials and two hospital staff would arrive in Hurghada on Wednesday to provide assistance.

The Chinese ambassador to Cairo, Wu Sike, and several other Embassy officials were on their way to Hurghada to help the victims, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, citing the Embassy.

The tour group had set off from Hong Kong on Friday, and the bus accident happened about 7 a.m. local time, said the tour agency spokesman, Chow Wing-keung. He said the highway was a usual route taken by Hong Kong package tours.

Most of those on the bus were from Hong Kong, Chow said, but he would not disclose their nationalities or provide further details. "Our local staff are now helping in the hospital," said Chow. "We hope we could arrange staff, relations and officials to fly into Hurghada tonight." Road accidents are common in Egypt because of bad roads and poor enforcement of traffic laws. Police estimate road accidents kill about 6,000 people each year, reports the AP.


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