Asia

Chinese tourists die in Taiwan bus fire

A handout photo released by the Taoyuan City Fire Department shows a tourist coach near the Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei, Taiwan, 19 July 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption The tour bus had been bringing the group of Chinese tourists to Taoyuan Airport to catch a flight back to Dalian

At least 26 people have died after a tour bus caught fire in Taiwan's Taoyuan city, according to local officials.

The bus smashed into a roadside barrier on a national highway and caught fire, Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

It had been bringing the group of Chinese tourists to Taoyuan Airport to catch a flight back to Dalian.

Officials said there were 24 tourists on board plus a local guide and driver.

"The fire moved very fast. All 26 died," Lu Jui-yao, an official with the National Highway Police Bureau told Reuters.

Pictures from the scene showed thick black smoke and flames engulfing the bus.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Officials said there were 24 tourists on board plus a local guide and driver

The cause of the crash, shortly before 13:00 (05:00 GMT), was not immediately known. Taiwan authorities are still investigating.

Taiwanese cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan said tourism government officials had reached out to their mainland counterparts and would arrange for relatives of the victims to come to Taiwan.

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