A total of 19 people including two small children have been killed after a bus flipped over the side of a bridge and crashed into a frozen river today.
Another 21 people were injured in the incident in Russia and had to be cut out of the vehicle as it came to rest upside down on the thick ice.
Horrific footage show the scene of the crash as frantic rescue efforts continued after dark on Sunday.
A total of 43 passengers and the driver were on the bus when it careered 22ft over a bridge and into the Kuenga River in TransBaikal region of Siberia, 3,930 miles east of Moscow.
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The river was shallow and its entire depth was frozen so it did not sink beneath the ice.
“The bus was en route from Sretensk to Chita. It veered off the road and overturned some 60 km (37 miles) from Sretensk," said an emergencies ministry spokesman.
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Investigators have said the Kia Grandbird bus may have suffered a burst tyre or skidded on the bridge.
Two helicopters with rescuers and medical staff including a neurosurgeon, trauma doctor, and two anaesthetists have flown to the scene.
The wounded have been rushed to local hospitals.
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The driver, killed in the accident, has been named as Sergey Kubasov, 43. He had 20 years experience and was described in Russian media reports as “very careful”.
"Nineteen people died and 21 received various injuries," said the office of regional governor Alexander Osipov who was heading to the scene.
A criminal investigation into the accident has been launched.
Russia's record on road safety is one of the worst in the world with a total of 18,214 people died in road accidents last year, according to the country’s traffic police.
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