14 Young Skiers Killed as Bus Crashes, Plunges in Japan

TOKYO — A bus carrying young skiers to a popular resort slid off a mountain road in Japan on Friday, killing 14 and injuring 27.

The vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic, went through a guardrail and crashed down the mountainside near Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture, emergency responders told The Associated Press.

14 Dead in Bus Crash Near Japan Ski Resort 0:49

"The bus was shaking sideways with incredible speed," an unidentified 19-year-old passenger told Nippon TV News. "I was still half-asleep but I realized something was wrong. It was then that I hit my head and lost consciousness. When I came to, the bus was already on its side."

The local police in Karuizaiwa, which is 110 miles northwest of Tokyo, told NBC News that there was no rain, snow or ice on the road at the time of the accident. Two drivers were among the dead, authorities said.

Most of the passengers were aged their teens or in their early 20s, according to Mankichi Fukuda, the president of ski tour operator Keyth Tour.

While apologizing for the accident, Fukuda told reporters gathered outside the company's offices that "of course we did not violate any regulations."

Image: The wreckage of the bus
The wreckage of the resort-bound bus. JUN YASUKAWA / EPA