The Chinese embassy in Laos and Jiangsu provincial authorities have sent rescue workers to help patients from a bus accident that killed 13 Chinese visitors and injured 31 others in northern Laos on Monday.
A tour bus carrying 44 Chinese tourists, most of them senior citizens, skidded off a road in northern Laos as they were traveling from the capital, Vientiane, to the tourist town of Luang Prabang, some 180 kilometers north of Vientiane. A tour company operator said police told him a mechanical failure on the bus may have caused the accident.
Two of the tourists were seriously injured. On Tuesday, 8 of the 31 injured tourists were flown to a hospital in Vientiane under the care of a medical team from the People's Liberation Army, who were in the country for Peace Train-2019, a China-Laos humanitarian and medical joint rescue exercise.
The other injured tourists remained in the hospital or in hotel rooms in Luang Prabang, officials said. Two Laotians, a bus driver and an assistant, had minor injuries, they said.
Most of the travelers are from Nanjing, Jiangsu province.
"The Chinese embassy in Laos and the consulate general in Luang Prabang immediately launched an emergency mechanism and fully coordinated with Lao military police, the local rescue force, Chinese enterprises and volunteers to start rescue work," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
Lou Qinjian, Party secretary of Jiangsu, and Wu Zhenglong, the provincial governor, asked government workers to fully cooperate with foreign affairs departments, rescue the injured and pay more attention to the safety of overseas travel.
On Tuesday, Jiang Zaidong, ambassador to Laos, visited injured passengers in the hospital.
Lei Ming, a manager for Jinling Commercial Travel Agency, which organized the trip, said police told the driver and the guide not to leave the area.
"Most of the injuries are bruises and sprained joints," he said. "Local police said the crash was probably caused by a brake failure. The travel agency has gotten in touch with each of the travelers or their relatives and we'll try our best to help them."
The Jiangsu Banking and Insurance Regulatory Administration has launched an emergency plan to provide help to the injured in Laos. The Jinling agency had purchased outbound travel accident insurance for each of the travelers.
Deng Guilan, an employee of Jiangtai Insurance Brokers Co, said workers sent to Laos are verifying the information of the injured and the dead.
"We also try to comfort the injured and all the travelers' relatives," she said. "The insurance payout will be instant to guarantee that each of the injured gets enough treatment."
According to the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, travel agencies in the province organized trips for nearly 10,000 visitors to travel to Laos in 2018, while more than 7,400 Laotians had visited the province.
An Baijie contributed to this story.