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8 Americans, 1 Canadian, among dead in tour bus crash; driver held

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Police block a road to investigate a tour bus crash near Tulum. Photo: Zona Cero

7 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 update:

A local police chief blames a busted tire on Tuesday’s fatal motorcoach crash.

“It seems a front tire of the bus exploded, making it lose control and leave the asphalt,” Carlos Briceno Villagomez, head of the police in the municipality of Bacalar, told Mexican TV network Televisa, in Spanish.

A local civil protection official said authorities were also investigating whether human error contributed to the accident.

It was not clear if the driver is still being detained by police.

Both ships have since left Costa Maya and are continuing with their normal itineraries. Serenade of the Seas is on a seven-night Caribbean cruise that departed Port Everglades, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 15, with calls to Key West; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Celebrity Equinox is on a seven-night Caribbean cruise that departed PortMiami on Saturday, Dec. 16, with calls at Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20 update:

Information about the 12 passengers who perished Tuesday in a bus crash on the Costa Maya have been revised.

Eight Americans, two Swedes, a Canadian and a tour guide those killed on Tuesday’s tourist bus crash in Quintano Roo. Previously, a news agency reported five U.S. tourists and four Canadians died.

The injured also included three Canadians, four Brazilians and four Americans, according to state authorities. Two Swedes were transported to the United States for treatment. Seven others slightly injured have returned to their cruise ship, the Associated Press reported.

The injured bus driver was taken into custody and the cause of the crash is under investigation.

The bus, which was carrying international tourists from two Royal Caribbean cruise ships, flipped over on a narrow highway  about four hours south of Cancun. Nearly two dozen additional passengers were injured.

The luxury bus was en route to the Chacchoben Maya ruins, about 110 miles south of Tulum.

The cruise ships, the Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, originated in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, respectively.

“The bus somehow went down the side of the road,” said witness Fontes Jacques, of Brazil, “then the driver pushed it over and it started flipping over. And then the bus flipped on its side.”

A tourist on another bus, Chris Brawley of Haslet, Texas, came upon the scene minutes after the crash.

A convoy of buses was carrying people from the cruise port at Mahahual, he said. They had been driving about 35 to 40 minutes before the accident, which appears to have involved no other vehicles.

Brawley says the sky was clear and the road was dry and noticed “swerve marks all over the road surface.”

With information from The Associated Press, ABC News, Reuters

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