Forty killed as train hits bus in Ukraine

A bus packed with commuters crashed into a train at a level crossing.

Kiev: A bus packed with rush-hour commuters crashed into a train at a level crossing in Ukraine on Tuesday after jumping a red traffic light, killing 40 people and leaving another 10 wounded, officials said.

"According to preliminary information, 40 people were killed and 10 wounded," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said at the start of a cabinet meeting, requesting a minute of silence for the victims.

President Viktor Yanukovych conveyed his condolences to the relatives of the victims and said a committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Kluyev had been set up to investigate the cause and help the families.

A statement on the presidential website said Kluyev had already left for the scene of the tragedy.

"The head of state has ordered law enforcement agencies to carry out a detailed investigation to establish those responsible for the accident," the statement said.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the train had dragged the bus alone the line for 30 metres after impact. It said that some of the wounded were in a critical condition and the toll could increase.

"The driver of the bus broke traffic laws by driving through a red light before colliding with the train," a spokeswoman for regional traffic police, Lyudmila Bashmakova, said.

The Interior Ministry said that according to witnesses, "the motor of the bus stopped at the level crossing as the driver was changing gears."

"It`s utter carnage there," Bashmakova added. She said there were three children among the dead.

The spokeswoman said the accident happened at 8:30 am, (0530 GMT). Bashmakova said the vehicle was an inter-city passenger bus carrying locals.

The collision took place near the town of Marganets, over 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the main regional city of Dnipropetrovsk and close to the city of Zaporizhia.

Ukraine, in common with other ex-Soviet states, has a terrible road safety record due to ageing vehicles and drivers who repeatedly flout road rules, with thousands killed on the road every year.

Bureau Report

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