November 1, 2005

Military truck explodes in S.Korean tunnel-report

SEOUL (Reuters) - A military truck carrying missile parts
exploded inside a South Korean highway tunnel on Tuesday, YTN
television reported.

The truck was in a four-vehicle convoy when its brakes
failed on a highway linking the southern city of Taegu and
Masan, just west of Pusan where a summit meeting of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is scheduled to be held
later this month.

No casualties were reported, YTN said.

A police officer said by telephone there were reports of a
fire but could not provide further details. It was not
immediately clear whether the truck was South Korean or
belonged to the U.S. military, which has troops stationed in
the country.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official said by telephone
officials were following reports of an accident in the region
but could not provide details.

A highway patrol officer speaking to YTN from near the
scene said the truck was carrying missile propulsion devices.

Sparks flew from one of the brakes and caught fire in the
cargo compartment of the truck, the officer said.

Another witness speaking on YTN said the trucks were marked
with signs indicating explosive materials were on board.

A retired South Korean military general speaking on YTN
said it was unlikely a propulsion device, although loaded with
a detonator and fuel, would explode simply from heat and fire.

(Additional reporting by Rhe So-eui, Kim Miyoung, Park
Sung-woo, Kim Yeon-hee and Lee Jin-joo)