, MOSCOW, July 24 – Twenty-one people were killed in southern Russia on Friday when a passenger bus collided with a truck, Russian news agencies reported, citing police and emergency officials.
The deadly accident occurred at about 0900 GMT when the bus collided head-on with a fuel truck in the country’s southern Rostov region, around 1,200 kilometres south of Moscow.
"Twenty-one people died, including the drivers of the fuel truck and the bus," the head of the Rostov region traffic police, Alexander Kaverzin, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
Other news agencies also reported that 21 people were killed in the crash or died in hospital afterwards, citing health and emergency officials. Some of the victims were said to be children.
Television pictures showed the front of the bus entirely smashed in and ambulances surrounding the scene.
"There was no fire but the collision was of monstrous force," Interfax quoted a spokesman for the rescue team as saying.
The wreck was the second major bus accident in Russia this week, after a bus overturned outside the Siberian city of Novosibirsk overnight Sunday-Monday, killing eight and injuring 37.
Fatal traffic accidents are frequent in Russia and are often linked to the dilapidated state of the country’s roads, poor adherence to safety rules and drunk driving.