At least 5 killed, 29 injured in expressway tunnel fire

GWACHEON, South Korea– At least five people were killed and 29 others injured, three of them seriously, Thursday in a noise-barrier tunnel fire along an expressway in Gwacheon, just south of Seoul, fire authorities said.

The blaze was reported to have occurred at 1:49 p.m. inside the noise tunnel in Gwacheon along the Second Gyeongin Expressway that connects the western port city of Incheon to Seongnam City, the authorities said.
Initial findings showed the fire started after a bus and a truck collided. It quickly spread to the tunnel, causing massive clouds of flames and smoke.

Rescuers found five people dead inside vehicles, including those involved in the collision. Rescuers initially put the death toll at six, but later corrected it to five, saying one victim was counted twice.

Twenty-nine others sustained injuries, such as smoke inhalation, three of them seriously, according to the authorities, adding the death toll could rise further depending on the outcome of the rescue operation.

A total of 77 fire trucks, 190 fire personnel and helicopters were sent to the scene, and the main body of the fire was brought under control at around 3:18 p.m., authorities said.

Authorities plan to determine the exact cause of the fire as soon as it is brought under control.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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