August 20, 2019 / 2:40 PM / 2 months ago

At least 13 Chinese tourists killed in bus accident in Laos

BANGKOK (Reuters) - At least 13 people have been killed and 31 injured after a bus carrying Chinese tourists slid off a road in Laos, the Chinese Embassy in Vientiane, the Laotian capital, said on Tuesday.

The bus was carrying 44 Chinese and two Laotians - a driver and a guide - when it skidded of the road and plunged into a ravine late Monday, prompting a rescue operation in a mountainous area where road conditions are poor.

The bus was travelling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, an ancient capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular with tourists some 300 kilometers (180 miles) north from the capital.

A Chinese medical team who were taking part in a joint humanitarian training exercise in Laos helped in the rescue effort, the Chinese embassy said in a statement on its website.

The number of Chinese visitors to Laos has grown in recent years from more than 500,000 in 2015 to 600,000 in 2017 and more than 800,000 in 2018, according to official data.

Laotian authorities has not determined the cause of the accident, the state-backed Vientiane Times reported.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um, editing by Larry King

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