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Tour bus fire kills several retirees in South Korea

At least ten people have died after a bus caught fire on a highway in South Korea. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but the diver has been detained for questioning about the bus' maintenance record.

A bus fire on a highway near the southeastern city of Ulsan in South Korea killed at least ten passengers and injured nine others, officials said on Friday.

A total of twenty people, including the driver, were on the tour bus when it crashed into a guardrail and caught fire on the Gyeongbu Expressway on Thursday night, said the Ministry of Public Safety and Security in a statement.

"A few people escaped from the bus which then went up in flames after some loud explosions," an unnamed eyewitness said, as quoted in South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Half of the passengers trying to escape were trapped inside the bus by a door which was blocked by the concrete guard rail.

Seven of the injured were seriously injured. Officials in Ulsan said the wounded were treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

The bus was carrying a group of retirees who were returning from a trip to China, said Ulsan officials.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities detained the bus driver for questioning over the tour bus' maintenance record.

rs/kl  (AP, AFP)