UPDATED: A Swedish bus carrying Asian tourists caught fire inside the 11.4 kilometer-long Gudvangatunnelen in the mountainous western county of Sogn og Fjordane on Tuesday. Police reported that around 30 to 40 people were in the tunnel at the time and were evacuated.
Odd Arve Solvåg, operations leader for the Sogn og Fjordane Police District, had earlier told state broadcaster NRK that there were no reports of injuries, but five people were later taken to hospital in Voss. The extent of their injuries was unclear.
The tunnel is one of the longest in the world. Smoke from the fire was said to be blowing towards the western entrance to the tunnel at Gudvangen, so police were ordering motorists to evacuate through the eastern entrance at Flåm. A full emergency response to the fire was sent to the area including firefighters, ambulances and helicopters. A fire in the same tunnel two years ago ended with 70 people being sent to hospitals in Lærdal, Førde, Bergen and Voss.
By 5pm firefighters had doused the fire and were making sure it wouldn’t flare up again. Then they would work on clearing out the smoke before investigating the extent of the damage. Einar Veriede of the local police said there were no reports of anyone missing after the fire.
The tunnel was likely to remain closed, unfortunate given all the summer at present. The fire created congestion at both ends of the tunnel, which is part of the primary E16 highway over the mountains, leading to long lines of vehicles and disruption at the height of the tourist season.