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SEOUL — Members of the South Korean family injured last week when a U.S. military bus hit their van, killing two passengers, visited the accident site on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the crash, according to a South Korean police spokesman.

The South Korean bus driver and a South Korean investigator/interpreter from Kunsan Air Base’s 8th Security Forces Squadron also were at the site, said Kunsan spokeswoman Capt. Tiffany Payette.

The bus was traveling from Kunsan to Osan Air Base on Nov. 25 when it hit the van, killing two sisters, ages 40 and 45, and critically injuring six relatives inside. One of the 19 Americans inside the bus was treated for minor injuries at Osan and released the same day.

The bus driver, Shin Dong-se, a 40-year-old Kunsan employee, and the family members continued to give police conflicting reports about what caused the wreck, the Hongsung police district spokesman said.

Police said Shin told them the van was parked on the side of Highway 15, which family members denied. Shin told police last week that he struck the van after swerving to avoid another car in front of him that braked suddenly.

The police spokesman refused to provide additional details Tuesday because the investigation is ongoing, and he said officials won’t know if Shin will be prosecuted until the investigation is completed. Payette said Shin is still employed at Kunsan but will not work until the investigation is finished.

Two U.S. Air Force officials — Col. C.Q. Brown, commander of the 8th Fighter Wing, and Brig. Gen. Harold Moulton, vice commander of the 7th Air Force — made “solatia,” or condolence payments, during a hospital visit last week to see the family members. Air Force officials declined to release the amount paid.

Payette said Kunsan is cooperating with Korean National Police, who are conducting the investigation. An Air Force internal Safety Investigation Board is also investigating.


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