At least 26 people have been killed in a tour bus fire after it crashed into a guardrail on a highway near Taoyuan International Airport, according to the Ministry of the Interior’s National Fire Agency.
Of the dead, 24 were tourists from China, including three children. A Taiwanese tour guide and the bus driver also died.
The crash occurred just before 1 p.m. local time on the No. 2 National Freeway that serves the capital Taipei’s airport. The bus was westbound on the highway and headed for the airport, where the tour group was due to fly back home after seven days in the country.
The Taoyuan City fire department deployed 23 vehicles and 60 firefighters to join the firefighting and rescue operation. After extinguishing the fire, the crew reported finding a number of burned bodies.
The National Fire Agency released images of the charred vehicle on social media.
The Tourism Bureau confirmed that the group of tourists was from Dalian City in Liaoning Province, China.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang said that an emergency response mechanism had been activated.
“We are highly concerned with the life and property safety of our… compatriots,” Ma said.
“Relevant departments will dispatch a work group to Taiwan to help families handle the aftermath.”