South Korean tour bus catches fire killing 10 ,driver arrested

Seoul,Oct14:A South Korean tour bus carrying a group of retirees crashed and caught fire on a highway near the southeastern city of Ulsan, killing 10, police said today – adding that the driver survived and had been arrested.

Highway closed-circuit television footage showed the bus, which was carrying 19 passengers, swerving in seemingly normal weather and catching fire after hitting the highway guardrail late yesterday.

Passengers were retirees of Hanwha Chemical Corp and their spouses on their way home from a group tour to China, police said.

Choi Ik-soo, chief of police at the Ulju county in Ulsan, said the driver was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and authorities were investigating.

Xinhua reported the bus was engulfed in flames at about 10.11pm local time and the other passengers managed to escape by breaking the windows with emergency hammers and jumping out.

The injured were taken to a nearby hospital. All of the passengers are retired employees of Hanwha Chemical and their spouses in their mid-50s up to early 70s.

A preliminary investigation by police and firefighting authorities said a sudden rupture of the right front tyre had led the bus to tilt rightward.

The bus was presumed to have skidded about 200m along a guardrail, and the fractional heat caused the blaze. More detailed investigation was underway.