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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 22:21 GMT 23:21 UK
Nine Britons die in Jordan crash
The Prince of Wales and Jordan's King Abdullah talk to a surgeon at Hussain Medical Centre in Amman
Prince Charles and King Abdullah (right) visited the injured in hospital
Nine Britons on a pilgrimage tour have died in a bus crash near the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.

A group of 18 British tourists had been travelling from the tourist spot when one of their coach's front tyres burst and it collided with a pick-up truck.

Three other people, including the Jordanian drivers of the coach and truck, were also killed.

Prince Charles, who is touring Jordan, visited survivors at the King Hussein Medical Centre in Amman.

Four had been airlifted there while the others, who were more seriously hurt, were taken to hospital in Talifa, which is nearer to the crash site.

It is thought that many of the dead and injured were from the York area.

'Ghastly accident'

The prince, who arrived at the hospital with Jordanian King Abdullah, described the crash as a "ghastly accident", and said his heart went out to those who had lost their relatives.

"My thoughts and prayers are with their families and those who are being treated by the excellent staff," he said.

Clarence House later confirmed the prince would follow the official tour programme by visiting Petra's so-called "Treasury" building on Friday, as scheduled.

The main objective is to ensure the survivors are given the best possible treatment
Chris Prentice
British ambassador

Samir Samawi, the 36-year-old tour guide who was travelling on the coach, told relatives a front tyre blew out just before the collision with the small truck.

After that, the coach somersaulted, Mr Samawi reportedly said.

The British ambassador in Jordan, Chris Prentice, said the accident was "very serious and tragic".

"The main objective is to ensure the survivors are given the best possible treatment."

The accident happened 155 miles (250km) south of Amman, on the Desert Highway dual carriageway between Wadi Rum and Madaba.

Prince Charles was in north-west Jordan visiting a nature reserve with Queen Rania when the accident occurred.

The Great Palace at Petra, Jordan.
The tourists had been to see the ancient city of Petra

'Terrible time'

Reverend Stephen Burgess, chairman of the York and Hull Methodist District, said: "We are deeply sad about the news from Jordan of the coach crash, and aware that many of the passengers are from the Methodist community here in York.

"I know that Methodists and others locally will be remembering those involved in their prayers, and will be offering support to families and friends at this terrible time."

David Symes, from the Jordan Tourism Board in London, said: "This has come as a great shock and our hearts go out to the families of those involved."

The board confirmed that Pilgrim Travel, in Deal, Kent, had organised the tour.

The eight-day tour began on 23 October, the company's website said.

It included a flight from Heathrow to Amman, with the visit of Petra described as the "highlight" of the trip.

The tourists were to stay at Petra Palace Hotel, Petra, before seeing Bedouin camps in the desert and sites of religious significance.

Their final night was to be at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, before flying out to Heathrow from Amman.

The Foreign Office said concerned relatives can ring 0207 008 0000 for information.


Your comments:

I would like, as a Jordanian, to send out my deepest condolences to the families and relatives of those lost in the terrible accident. And pray for those injured and their speedy recovery.
Paul, Amman, Jordan

We were in a group of about a dozen tourists involved in a minibus collision with camels
Dave Doorly, UK

In late December 1999 we were in a group of about a dozen tourists involved in a minibus collision with camels on that highway at night on the way to Petra. Despite a bashed windscreen our driver drove on to seek urgent first aid. Subsequently we heard that a lorry had ploughed into the herd of camels standing on the highway around the dead camel. A taxi with two Americans then struck the dead camels killing them and their driver. We were very lucky but felt guilty about our bus driver's behaviour. Don't travel at night where there are camels! Despite that Jordan is a fantastic place with lovely people. There are risks wherever you visit.
Dave Doorly, Warwick, UK

This is my twelfth year in Jordan. I would like to reassure the relatives of the survivors that the medical services in Jordan are among the best in the world and that their kin will be getting the best treatment available from highly qualified medical staff.
Dave Gibson, Amman, Jordan

As an archaeologist I've travelled these highways quite often
Juan Moreno, Southampton

Having lived in Jordan off and on over the past six years I know the country quite well. As an archaeologist I've travelled these highways quite often. If the bus was travelling on the King's or Desert Highway from Amman to Petra I'm not surprised to hear about an accident like this. The highways (including the Dead Sea) are notoriously unsafe. Jordan has always had severe road and vehicle safety issues. I'm sorry to hear attention drawn to these issues by the deaths of innocent travellers.
Juan Moreno, Southampton, UK

My family and I enjoyed a marvellous holiday in Jordan three years ago, including a drive down the King's Highway to Petra. I drove a rental car and can confirm that the standards of driving were quite reasonable, certainly miles better than in India from which we have just returned, relieved to still be in one piece!
Jeremy Brown, Croydon, UK

I just returned from Jordan 24 hours ago, where I was spending my honeymoon. Petra is one of the most amazing and memorable sites in the world and I feel very sad that these tourists' visit there should end in tragedy. However their relatives can take some comfort from the fact that their loved ones will have had a fantastic experience at Petra and that the supportive and sympathetic reaction from the Jordanian King is exactly as I expected, having found the Jordanian people charming, helpful and unobtrusive. My heart is with everyone involved.
Rhian Pamphilon, London, UK

Visited Petra in June 2004 travelled along the King's Highway from Amman to Petra and returned by the Desert Highway they are excellent roads, good surfaces and a high standard of maintenance. Condolences and sympathies to the relatives of those who were killed or injured. Petra is still worth visiting a road traffic accident could happen anywhere.
John Foster, Comber, N Ireland

The people are very friendly and the guides extremely knowledgeable
Chris Kisch, Milton Keynes

Visited Jordan a year ago. The people are very friendly and the guides extremely knowledgeable. We were treated very well during our excursion to Petra which was a marvel and much more to see than just the Treasury - an extensive city requiring at least two or more days just to get a feel for the place - let alone explore the hundreds of temples, shop sites and artefacts. However the Israeli border 2000 hours closure pressured the guide and driver to speed to prevent being stranded in no man's land.
Chris Kisch, Milton Keynes, UK

The main road down to Petra from Amman is a good road but as you near Petra it becomes hilly and the roads become narrow with many twists and turns. We hired a car and very knowledgeable driver to take us touring in Jordan and it was a fantastic holiday, Petra is an amazing site where you could easily spend a couple of days. Jerash, Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea were also great sites to visit. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the dead and injured.
Sue Hart, Sarnia, Canada

I have been to this area a few times and whilst the main road is good the King's Highway is a scary place. Jordanian driving is not quite up to the standard of that in England and accidents in this area are not uncommon. My sympathy goes out to the families of those that perished and the wounded.
Nigel , Northumberland, UK

That is so sad. I was there last week with a bird watching group. We were all impressed with the high standard of driving shown by Jordanian drivers. The Jordanian people were so helpful and friendly. Our Jordanian driver and guide worked really hard to make our trip extra special and the driver would cheerfully keep stopping (safely!) when we spotted a bird and even found four sooty falcons for us. The scenery is magnificent, even more so with the early morning and evening sun casting shadows and picking up colour highlights from the rocks. Petra, of course is a wonder. A country to be highly recommended for the tourist from many points of view.
Pat Rumpus, Stevenage, UK

I used to live in Jordan and the Jordanians have always been caring thoughtful people. I'm sure they will do their very best to help.
T Lomas, Haslemere, UK

Petra is a fantastic tourist attraction and one I visited two weeks ago when staying in Taba in Egypt. How sad would it be for the Egyptian tourist industry if it turns out that the Britons have come from the Taba region especially after the Hilton bomb exactly two weeks ago. Thoughts and prayers are with their families.
Paul, Reading, UK

As an overseas British teacher, I had the pleasure to teach and live in Jordan for two years. During my time there I visited the area many times, and I know the routes from Petra back to Amman very well. I have been involved in several near misses, largely due to the old, windy, narrow roads that vehicles have to negotiate. This accident is a terrible tragedy - and I am sure the Jordanian guide and driver would be devastated to know the amount of trauma caused. The Jordanian people are friendly and welcoming - and will grieve alongside the strong and supportive British community in Amman.
Garry Ratcliffe, Tokyo, Japan.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Prince Charles was due to visit on Friday



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
Irish TimesNine British pilgrims killed in Jordan crash - 47 mins ago
ABC Online Nine Britons among 12 dead in Jordan bus accident - 53 mins ago
Sky News Prince Visits Jordan Coach Crash Injured - 2 hrs ago
Daily Mail British pilgrims killed in crash - 2 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Nine Britons dead in Jordan crash - 2 hrs ago
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