A road accident involving a loaded oil tanker triggered a violent explosion leaving at least three dead near Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The 5-ton oil tanker fell off the truck when it hit the median strip of the highway at around 1:20 pm and slammed into several vehicles coming from the opposite direction, firefighters told Yonhap news agency.

The impact caused a violent explosion that engulfed nine vehicles in flames.

The firefighters, who managed to fully bring the fire under control an hour after the accident, have confirmed the deaths of at least three people, including the truck driver and an infant.

The accident is believed to have occurred due to a failure of the truck's brakes, since several witnesses have told the authorities they saw the truck zigzagging shortly before crashing into the median.