16 SINGAPOREANS INJURED IN HOKKAIDO TOUR BUS ACCIDENT DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL

BY KWAN WENG KIN JAPAN CORRESPONDENT IN TOKYO, Straits Times

Sixteen tourists from Singapore suffered slight injuries when the tour bus they were travelling in veered off an icy road in Hokkaido yesterday.

The group was taken to hospital, where the Singaporeans were treated for minor injuries such as facial cuts. It is understood they have all been discharged, and were resting in Sapporo city last night.

The accident took place just before noon (Japan time) on Highway 237 near Shimukappu Village.

The bus was travelling from Noboribetsu, a hot spring resort, to Sounkyo, which is also famous for its hot springs.

The 52-year-old driver of the bus was quoted by reports as saying: “I stepped on the brakes just before the T-junction, but the bus skidded.” Police said the roads were icy because of intermittent snow all morning.

Reports said the group of 16 included a four-year-old child, and that the oldest person was 68 years old. A Japanese tour guide was also injured in the crash.

The group had arrived in Japan only a few days ago, and was on an eight-day tour of Hokkaido. They were scheduled to travel to Beijing after the Hokkaido trip before returning to Singapore.

In October, a group of 33 tourists from Singapore was involved in another accident in Hokkaido, when the tour bus they were in collided with a truck. The drivers of the bus and truck were both killed in the crash.

Several members of the group sustained minor injuries, and one was warded overnight.

Hokkaido is a popular destination for Singaporeans, especially during the winter season.

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