China / HK Macao Taiwan

Taiwan bus fire kills 24 from mainland

By Wu Yong in Shenyang and Zhang Xiaomin in Dalian (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-20 07:54

Twenty-four tourists from the Chinese mainland were among 26 people killed in a bus fire in Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon. There were no survivors.

The driver and a tour guide, both from Taiwan, were also killed in the fire. The tourists were on their way to the airport to return home after an eight-day visit when the accident happened.

The fire occurred about 1 pm on a highway near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, 10 males and 16 females were killed. The youngest victim was 12 years old, and the oldest was 73. Most of the tourists were from Liaoning province in Northeast China.

A highway police spokesman said, "From what we have seen from our surveillance cameras, the front part of the bus apparently caught fire before the bus slammed into the road barriers and burst into flames."

According to local police, nine bodies were found close to each other at the rear of the bus, where the victims apparently had attempted to escape through an emergency exit.

A firefighter from a local unit said the driver might have died before he could open the two bus doors.

The group had departed from Dalian, Liaoning province. Liaoning Overseas International Travel Service Co organized the tour.

"We will do all we can to assist the families of the victims," said Taiwan authority spokesman Tung Chen-yuan.

The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said a team will be sent to Taiwan to help.

Dalian resident Lin Junmin lost his sister, sister-in-law and niece in the fire.

Social workers and staff members from agencies have visited his home since the accident, Lin said.

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