Iraq Tour Bus Crash Kills 27

08/27/2011 12:00 pm ET | Updated Oct 27, 2011

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq -- A bus carrying vacationing families through northern Iraq collided head-on with a car and burst into flames Saturday, killing all 24 people trapped on the bus and three people in the car, police said.

Kirkuk Traffic Police Director Brig. Gen. Sallar Fiqih said the bus was carrying vacationing families with children from Baghdad to the northern city of Irbil. It caught on fire, trapping passengers inside, after it collided with the car on a narrow two-lane road about 18 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of the city of Kirkuk.

None of the 23 passengers or the driver aboard the bus survived, Fiqih said.

"When I opened the door of the bus, I saw a horrific scene of totally burned bodies, including four children," said traffic policeman Asso Ahmed, one of the first officials on the scene.

Three in the oncoming car, including its driver, also were killed, Fiqih said. Three other passengers in the car were wounded.

Fiqih said the bus passed through at least one security checkpoint near Kirkuk, where the driver told guards he was headed to Irbil and showed identification that he was from Baghdad. The bus was filled with blankets and tea thermoses, and Fiqih said it appeared its passengers were on vacation.

Kirkuk is located about 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

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Associated Press Writers Bushra Juhi and Lara Jakes contributed to this report.

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