Nearly a hundred bus passengers were safely rushed out of Hai Van tunnel in central Vietnam on Monday morning after a bus caught fire.
The burned bus was carrying 32 passengers (some of whom were children and the elderly) from Da Nang to neighboring Hue.
Dang Xuan Thanh, the 46-year-old owner of the vehicle, said he noticed the fire break out in the driver's area at around 9:30am when the bus was one kilometer into the 6.28km tunnel.
Thanh asked his driver, Le Thanh Tung, 37, to stop and attempted to put out the flames using a mini extinguisher.
The effort failed and the fire spread into the passenger cabin.
Thanh smashed the driver’s window and pulled a fire hose installed in the tunnel into the vehicle and put out the flames.
Employees from the Hai Van Tunnel Management Company noticed the fire through cameras and sent an emergency crew to rescue the passengers.
In just 15 minutes, Da Nang firemen had managed to guide eight other buses carrying 63 passengers out of the two ends of the tunnel; traffic had been cleared 50 minutes after the incident began.
Three people were injured and have been hospitalized. Two passengers minor injuries and a woman of around 60 years old suffered a back injury after jumping out of the bus.
Cao Ba Giang, deputy director of the company, said emergency workers arrived just in time.
“If they had arrived just three or four minutes later, the outcome could have been tragic,” Giang told radio Voice of Vietnam.
According to the company, the fire was the first this year in the tunnel, which opened in 2005 below the Hai Van pass as the longest vehicle tunnel in Southeast Asia.
Another bus was sent to the scene to carry the passengers on to their destinations.
Police are investigating the cause of the accident.