A tour bus carrying visitors from mainland China burst into flames on a busy highway near Taiwan's capital on Tuesday, killing 26 people, Taiwanese media said.

The accident took place on the No. 2 national highway in Taoyuan county, south of Taipei, the official Central News Agency and others reported.

The website of Taiwan's China Times newspaper said those aboard were tourists from China's Liaoning province, but officials have not confirmed that. The paper said no one aboard made it off the burning bus.

The Central News Agency and others reported that the bus apparently smashed into a roadside barrier and caught fire, although the exact sequence of events wasn't immediately clear. Photos from the scene showed flames and thick black smoke pouring from the cab of the bus.

Taoyuan fire department official Zeng Hao said by phone that the total number of dead and injured was still being compiled.