Four Belgian tourists have been killed and a further six seriously injured after their tour bus crashed in Jordan on Saturday.
According to the Belgian foreign ministry, three women and one man, all Belgian citizens, were killed instantly in the accident and a further six Belgian nationals were seriously injured. The status of the remaining eight passengers who were also travelling on the bus is not immediately known, but no other passengers were admitted to hospital. The majority of the passengers on the tour bus were from Belgium, although there were also a number of people hailing from Luxembourg, according to the foreign ministry.
The accident occurred at around 6pm on Saturday evening, in the city of Karak in West Jordan. The tourist bus was carrying passengers from the historical city of Petra to the country’s capital of Amman, said a spokesperson for Thomas Cook Belgium, the tour agency that organised the tour and was chartering the bus.
According to initial eye witness reports, the tour bus collided with a car that appeared to be driving in the wrong lane. The spokesperson for Thomas Cook Belgium claimed that the bus driver could not be held accountable for the accident if eye witness reports turn out to be correct. However, a thorough investigation will be conducted into the accident, say Jordan police officials.
Jordan police officials report in a press release that 15 passengers were in fact injured, with the police report stating that they were Belgian and French citizens. As well as the tourists, the driver of the bus and a local tour guide were also injured in the incident. The tourists will be flying home to Belgium on a special flight organised by the Belgian embassy in Amman. According to the Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, the embassy and Jordanian authorities are offering support to the victims and their families to ensure that they get home safely.
The Prime Minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo, extended his condolences to the victims of the accident as well as the families of the deceased on Twitter, saying ‘My thoughts are with the victims of this bus accident in Jordan and their families’ on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the Jordan police department, Mohamad Khatib, said that the survivors of the accident all had only minor injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment. According to a spokesperson for the local hospital, all of the injured have since been discharged.