The accident occurred at around 4:30 pm on the part of National Highway 6 that crosses Trung Khe Pass, where the truck carrying asphalt crashed into the bus running in the opposite direction.
The truck was en route from Hanoi to the northwestern region when its driver lost control after descending a slope, according to one witness.
All of the injured were taken to a hospital for emergency treatment, said Bui Van Thang, director of the Hoa Binh Department of Transport and head of the provincial Traffic Safety Committee.
Out of the three deceased people, two were passengers aboard the bus and one on the truck, of whom two were unable to be identified as their bodies were severely burnt, Thang added.
The vehicles burst into flames after the crash, from which smoke could be seen from a long distance, according to the Facebook page of Otofun, a Vietnamese automobile forum.
Smoke from the vehicle fire after the collision. Photo: Otofun Facebook
The passenger bus turned on its side due to the force of the collision, with its front part distorted and windshield broken. The passengers’ belongings were thrown out of the vehicle.
Many of the injured were trapped inside the bus before being rescued by passers-by and competent agencies at about 6:00 pm.
The tanker truck had its head heavily damaged while the asphalt leaked out, covering tens of meters of the road.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, issued a document on Monday night, ordering local officials to investigate the case, identify the cause of the accident and sternly punish those responsible.
Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the committee, instantly came to the scene to work with provincial authorities on a probe into the accident.
Deputy PM Phuc has also extended his condolences to the families of the victims.