TOKYO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Around 20 people were injured on Friday when a tour bus careened off a road in the town of Shimizu in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, the local fire department said.
The tour bus was traveling along Route 24 in Shimizu when it skidded off the road and tumbled a few meters into a wooded, grassy area where it was found on its side, according to local firefighters.
Rescue officials said the extent of the injuries of the 20 wounded passengers is not yet known, but patients are being transferred to the Shimizu Red Cross Hospital.
A rescue helicopter has also been deployed to the scene, the fire department said.
According to the operator of the tour bus, Abashiri Sightseeing Transportation, which is headquartered in Hokkaido, the bus had departed from Sapporo City at 8:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Thursday).
The bus was carrying tourists, including those from Tokyo, to Lake Akan in the Akan National Park in Hokkaido, the operator said.
Rescue officials said the accident happened at around 4:00 p.m. local time (0700 GMT) and police and rescue officials were investigating the cause of the crash.
The bus is believed to have been carrying a total of around 49 people at the time of the accident, the fire department said.