Story highlights

14 people dead, 27 injured in bus crash in central japan

Bus was on way to ski resort when it slid off the road

CNN  — 

Fourteen people were killed when a bus ferrying tourists to a ski resort in central Japan rolled off a mountain roadway in the early hours of Friday morning, according to local authorities.

The bus was carrying 41 people to popular ski resort Kita Shiga in Yamanouchi Town when it crashed near the town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, according to local police. Twenty-seven people were injured.

It’s not known what caused the accident; images from the scene showed no snow on the road and conditions were dry at the time of the crash, police said.

The bus operating company has a record of drivers’ safety violations and is now under investigation, said ministry officials. It had received a penalty and vehicle suspension only two days previously.

Most of the passengers were aged from eighteen to early twenties according to travel agency Keyth, which advertises itself as offering cheap bus tours to popular resorts.

The overnight bus left Tokyo Thursday night and was carrying 39 people and two drivers.

CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki contributed to this report