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Fire claims lives of all 26 people on Chinese tour group bus

2016/07/19 16:13:01

Taipei, July 19 (CNA) All 26 people on a bus taking a Chinese tour group to Taiwan's main international airport died Tuesday when a fire broke out in the vehicle on the No. 2 National Freeway, authorities said.

The Tourism Bureau said the tour group on the bus was from Liaoning province in China and consisted of 23 tourists, including three children, and a Chinese guide.

It arrived in Taiwan on July 12 for an eight-day tour and was heading to the airport on its final day in Taiwan to catch a 4:30 p.m. flight back to Dalian.

Two Taiwanese on board the ill-fated bus -- the bus driver and a tour guide -- also lost their lives in the tragedy.

The worst single accident involving Chinese tourists in Taiwan occurred at about 1 p.m. at the 2.9-kilometer mark of the freeway on its westbound lane headed toward Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Freeway surveillance cameras showed that the bus was belching smoke as it rode on the inside lane of the roadway.

Other images showed the bus after it rammed into a guardrail on the outer edge of the freeway with flames erupting out of its windows.

It was unclear at what point the fire broke out and what caused it or why the driver did not pull the bus over while it was belching smoke.

Firefighters who arrived on the scene needed 30 minutes to put out the blaze, and found most of the victims piled up near the emergency exit door located behind the fifth row in the bus.

The six-year-old tour bus involved in the accident had a record of five traffic violations during its time in service.

The driver, Su Ming-cheng (蘇明成), only obtained his license to drive big passenger buses last October and had two traffic violations to his name.

(By Ku Chuan, Wu Tze-hao and Lilian Wu)
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