At least 16 killed as train slams into bus in Russia


Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 1

At least 16 people were killed yesterday when a train slammed into a bus that had broken down on a level crossing east of Moscow, authorities said.

The Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that 19 Uzbek citizens had died in the crash, but the Investigative Committee of Russia reported a lower figure.

The incident occurred before dawn near the town of Pokrov, about 110km east of the Russian capital.

“According to preliminary information, 16 people, including a child, have been killed,” the investigative committee said.

“Other passengers, including minors, have been taken to hospital with various injuries. The number of dead and injured is being ascertained,” it said, confirming that it had opened an investigation.

The regional interior ministry said the bus broke down on the level crossing.

The train, traveling at 90kph from Saint Petersburg to Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow, slammed into the bus at 3:29am.

The train was 400m from the crossing when the driver slammed on the emergency brakes and sounded a warning alarm, but it was not able to stop before it hit the vehicle, JSC Russian Railways said.

All of those killed were on the bus, which was carrying 58 people, 56 of them Uzbek nationals. The remaining two were drivers from Kazakhstan.

“There are no victims among the train passengers,” the ministry said.

Images from the scene showed the white Mercedes-Benz bus had been almost completely torn apart, with most of its roof ripped off and debris scattered across the tracks.

The Uzbek ambassador to Russia was on his way to the scene along with other staff from the embassy, the Uzbek embassy said, adding that a team of experts was flying to the region to offer assistance.

The Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the two bus drivers, one of whom was killed, were Kazakhstani nationals.

The train continued on its route at about 11am.

The collision appears to be Russia’s most deadly accident involving a train since 2006, when 22 people were killed when a train struck a bus at an unprotected crossing in the southern Krasnodar region.