CANCUN, Mexico — Eight Americans, two Swedes and a Canadian were among those killed when the bus taking them from their cruise ships to Mayan ruins crashed in southeastern Mexico, officials said Wednesday. A tour guide was the 12th fatality.
Quintana Roo state prosecutor Miguel Angel Pech Cen said at a news conference that a preliminary investigation indicates that the bus driver’s negligence led him to lose control, and when he tried to return back to a narrow highway, the bus flipped, struck a tree and landed in vegetation along the roadside.
“Due to a lack of care the driver lost control of the bus’ steering to the right, leaving the asphalt,” Pech Cen said. He said signs found at the scene indicate the driver was going too fast.
The Quintana Roo state government said the injured included three Canadians, four Brazilians and four Americans. Two Swedes were also transported to the United States for treatment, and seven others slightly injured in Tuesday’s accident have returned to their cruise ship, officials said.
The injured bus driver was taken into custody, the government statement added.
The Swedish and Canadian governments confirmed the deaths of their citizens on Wednesday, but the U.S. Embassy in Mexico confirmed only “multiple” American deaths and several injuries. It said it had staff on the ground assisting victims and loved ones.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this tragedy,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
Chris Brawley, of Haslet, Texas, was on one of the two cruise ships that had passengers on the crashed bus, and he was en route to the ruins as well. He said his bus passed by the accident just minutes after it occurred, and he observed skid marks on the dry pavement.
Brawley said the ship he was sailing on, the Serenade of the Seas, sailed out of Mahahual Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., a couple hours after its scheduled departure. It was docked Wednesday up the coast in Cozumel.
“Captain informed us this morning one of our passengers passed overnight,” Brawley said.
AP writer Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.