30+ Chinese among 36 dead in North Korea tourist bus crash

30+ Chinese among 36 dead in North Korea tourist bus crash
A serious traffic accident in North Korea has claimed the lives of 36 people, among them 32 Chinese, and left two more injured, the foreign ministry has confirmed.

The accident occurred on North Korea’s Huanghai Road at night. After sending a medical group to the crash site, Beijing confirmed that “32 Chinese tourists and four DPRK [North Korean] workers” were killed in the crash. Two more people suffered severe injuries. 

The ministry says it immediately initiated an “emergency mechanism” and has been “sparing no effort” in attending to the situation.

Full details of the incident have yet to be officially disclosed. Earlier, however, the Chinese state news agency CGTN had posted a tweet reporting that a tour bus had fallen off a bridge, killing 30 people. The tweet was then deleted. Meanwhile, travel industry sources also allegedly confirmed to NK News on Monday that more than 30 people have died in a tour bus crash in North Korea.

The tragedy reportedly involved a group of Chinese travel company staff from Beijing, who were returning to Pyongyang from the southern city of Kaesong.

The segment of the road where the accident is believed to have occurred is currently undergoing a major renovation project, ahead of Friday’s summit between Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, multiple sources told NK News. In addition, weather conditions could have contributed to the tragedy, with heavy rain and wind reported on the Korean peninsula on Sunday.

North Korea attracts a significant number of Chinese tourists from its fellow communist neighbor, worth about $44 million in additional annual revenue to Pyongyang. About 80 percent of all North Korea's foreign tourists are Chinese, the Korea Maritime Institute estimates. According to Beijing, more than 237,000 Chinese visited the country in 2012.

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