LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- At least four Chinese tourists died in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in the U.S. state of Utah on Friday, according to the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP).
A total of 30 persons were on the bus, the UHP tweeted. "Four have been killed, 12-15 with critical injuries and 10 more with minor to serious injuries."
The Chinese embassy in the United States has confirmed the bus was carrying a Chinese tour group into Bryce Canyon in Garfield County.
The embassy said in a statement that it has been in touch with local police for further details regarding the accident and has dispatched an emergency team to provide assistance for the victims.
The crash occurred on the state road 12 (SR-12), about 5.6 km west of Bryce Canyon, according to authorities and staff of the park.
A Facebook post from the Garfield County Sheriff's Office said the bus was traveling eastward at 11:36 a.m. (1736 GMT) when it ran off the road and rolled into the guardrail.
Three helicopters were dispatched and multiple agencies were involved, said the sheriff office.
A video footage acquired by Xinhua showed the top of the white bus was smashed with one side peeled away. The footage was shot by a Chinese tourist on a bus passing by the scene. Screams and sighs could be heard in the video.
The UHP said multiple air ambulances and rescue crews have been dispatched, and the SR-12 has been closed for investigation into the bus crash.
The injured have been taken to area hospitals throughout southern Utah, and several were transported by an air ambulance, according to the UHP.
The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. government agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation, tweeted Friday afternoon it was launching a team to investigate the crash.
Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told media that he felt terrible for those involved in the crash.
"This is pretty overwhelming for a little county of 4,900 people. This is just horrible for us," he was quoted by U.S. media as saying.
Some victims were treated at Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch City, Utah, according to media reports.
The hospital tweeted it has received 17 patients so far, three in critical condition, 11 in serious condition and three in fair condition.
"I grieve with all who lost loved ones in this crash and I'm grateful for the quick work of first responders, as well as all those who are volunteering to act as translators," Utah Governor Gary Herbert tweeted.
Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is known for its unique geology, according to the National Park Service website.