Two passenger buses collided in a tunnel in northeastern Taiwan on Monday after one of them attempted to avoid hitting a car, killing two people and injuring nearly two dozen others, police said on Tuesday.
The accident occurred just before 1:30 p.m. local time when the driver of the first bus, owned by Kamalan Bus, suddenly made an emergency stop after a tire blew out on a car in front of him. The sudden stop caught a second bus owned by Capital Bus by surprise, after which it rear-ended the first bus.
Monday's accident took place on the southbound side of National Highway 5 which links Yilan to the Taiwanese capital of Taipei. It happened in the 12.9 kilometer (8 mile) long Hsuehshan Tunnel, which is the longest tunnel in Taiwan and is bored through the Hsuehshan mountain range.
The collision caused the buses to catch fire, engulfing the tunnel with thick, heavy smoke as witnesses tried to flee the scene of the accident. The fire was extinguished by firefighters about 40 minutes later. Police said two people were killed, including one of the bus drivers, while 22 others were injured.
It is the worst accident in the tunnel since it was opened in June 2006.