At Least 14 Killed, 27 Injured in Japan Ski Tour Bus Crash

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An overnight tour bus on its way to a ski resort in central Japan slid down the mountainside in the early hours of Friday, killing at least 14 passengers and injuring 27 others.

Fire and disaster management officials said that the bus veered off to the opposite lane on a mountain road near a famous resort town of Karuizawa, in Nagano prefecture, ramming through a guardrail and sliding down the mountainside.

The chartered bus was carrying 41 people, including two drivers who were taking turns, when it crashed in the early hours Friday.

Japanese media say the bus fell three meters (10 feet) down the mountainside and landed on its side, with its front window bashed in.

There was no snow or ice on the road surface.

The accident is the latest in a series of highway crashes involving tour buses, which experts attribute to harsh working conditions for long-distance bus drivers.

A fatal highway tour bus crash in 2012 that killed seven on their way to Disneyland prompted some legal steps to improve driving safety, but accidents have continued. There were several last year, including one that involved two deaths and 26 injuries.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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