Eight U.S. citizens were among the 12 people killed when a bus full of tourists from two cruise ships crashed en route to an archaeological site in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
The fatal toll in Tuesday’s crash also included two Swedish nationals and a Canadian, according to officials in Mexico’s southern Quintana Roo state, where the accident occurred.
Also killed was a Mexican tour guide on board the bus, which veered off the highway and flipped over into the brush about 10 a.m. Tuesday. The bus was headed to Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, authorities said.
Officials did not immediately release the identities of the casualties. The Sun Sentinel reported that three of the dead were a woman from Coconut Creek, Fla., and her daughter and grandson. Quoting family members, the newspaper identified the three as Fanya Shamis, 78, Anna Behar, 46, and Daniel Behar, 11. The Behars were from Lorton, Va.
Of the 12 fatalities, authorities said, 11 died at the scene and the other at a nearby hospital. Photos from the scene after the accident showed what appeared to be at least one body lying on the road.
A total of 13 passengers on the ill-fated bus remained hospitalized on Wednesday, including four U.S. citizens, four Brazilians, three Canadians and two Swedish nationals, according to Mexican officials. All were described as being stable.
The bus was transporting 31 people, including the driver, to the ruins from the port of Mahahual, 44 miles to the southeast, officials said.
Authorities provided no explanation as to why the vehicle drifted off the two-lane highway.
The driver suffered unspecified injuries and was being detained as investigators opened a criminal inquiry into the incident, officials said.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises said 27 passengers from two of its ships, Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, were on board the bus. Both ships were scheduled for seven-night Caribbean cruises, with a stop on Mexico’s Mayan Coast.
Many cruise passengers docking in the Yucatan take daylong bus excursions to ruins and other sites on the peninsula.
Diplomats from the U.S. embassy and other foreign missions worked Wednesday to identify the dead and wounded and provide aid.
“We have staff on the scene and at local hospitals to assist victims and loved ones,” the U.S. embassy in Mexico said in a statement.
Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, expressed in a tweet “our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones or were injured in the horrible bus accident in Quintana Roo yesterday.”
5:35 p.m.: This article was updated with the names of three crash victims.
1 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional details about crash victims and comments from Roberta Jacobson.
This article was originally published at 8:40 a.m.