Three Vietnamese passengers died and 33 others were injured when their tourist bus fell off a mountain pass into the valley in Laos' Bolikhamsay province last weekend, according to Tuoi tre (Youth) online.

The three elderly travellers died on the scene, including Nguyen Huu Chu, 72, and Phung Thi Xuan Oanh, 69, from Hanoi , and Nguyen Hong Kiem, 74, from Quang Ninh province.

Of the 33 injured who were taken to central Nghe An province’s General Hospital, about 120 km from the scene of the accident, nine received slight injuries and were discharged soon after, while the remaining victims remained in hospital for treatment, said Dr. Nguyen Danh Linh, director of the hospital.

The hospital sent four ambulances to the scene after receiving reports on the accident, said Pham Van Long, deputy director of the hospital.

Most of the tourists are from northern mountainous Son La province and Hanoi , according to initial sources.

According to Major Tran Duc Ha, head of the Border Guard Station at the Cau Treo Border Gate in central Ha Tinh province, said the bus bore a Lao number plate but was driven by a Vietnamese man.

The vehicle left Vinh city at 7 am on April 20 and travelled through the border gate at 11 am the same day, heading for the Lao capital of Vientiane .

When crossing a mountain pass in Bolikhamsay province’s Kam Kot district, it crashed into the handrail of a small bridge and fell off the pass into the valley at about 2 pm.

Lao police are investigating the cause of the accident.-VNA