At least 5 dead after bus crash triggers horror fire in motorway tunnel

Firefighters at the scene of the freight truck and bus collision near Seoul (AP)
Firefighters at the scene of the freight truck and bus collision near Seoul (AP)

At least five people have been killed and nearly 40 injured after a freight truck and bus collided and caused a devastating fire in a South Korean motorway tunnel.

The horror crash happened on the Second Gyeongin Expressway near the capital Seoul at 1:49pm on Thursday (local time).

Video images on social media showed a soundproof awning engulfed in flames with large plumes of black smoke billowing over Gwacheon soon after the fire broke out.

Heavy traffic made it difficult for vehicles to escape the affected area as the fire spread and a blast was heard, a witness told television broadcaster YTN.

Smoke rises from the burning tunnel in Gwacheon (REUTERS)
Smoke rises from the burning tunnel in Gwacheon (REUTERS)

Altogether 44 vehicles were destroyed in the fire, a fire official at the scene told Reuters. Thirty-seven people were injured.

It wasn’t immediately known what caused the collision and fire, nor what cargo the truck was carrying.

The National Fire Agency said in a statement that three of the injured were in serious conditions while 34 others were lightly injured. Fire officials said the collision occurred inside a noise-barrier tunnel on the highway.

Earlier TV footage showed thick black plumes of smoke billowing from the tunnel, but fire officials said later they’d almost put out the blaze.

The public affairs office at the fire agency couldn’t immediately confirm where the five dead came from.