5 dead, 19 injured as bus carrying Russian teenagers crashes in Belgium (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
A teacher, a tour guide and a teenager from Russia as well as
two Polish drivers died in the crash, Russian embassy in Belgium
confirms. At least 19 people have been injured, 5 are in critical
There were 42 people on the bus, including 31 teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age.The passengers were on a bus tour from Poland to the Benelux countries and France.
Most of the teenagers were from Russia's Volgograd region. The bus was registered in the Russian city of Volgograd, and was reportedly traveling from Germany to Paris.
"It was a privately organized trip. The group traveled from Volgograd to Brest by train where they switched onto the bus. They went to tour European cities," a Volgograd Emergency Ministry spokesperson said.
No Ukrainian citizens were on the bus, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said. Earlier reports suggested that several Ukrainians may have been traveling with the group.
The critically injured passengers and the bodies of the dead have been taken to the nearby town of Ranst, near Antwerp.
"My thoughts are with those injured in the accident,” Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said. “Our authorities and emergency services are doing everything to help them.”
The Russian Emergency Ministry has sent two planes to help the
The first plane has returned 29 victims of the crash home to Volgograd, where city authorities have promised to pay for their treatment.
The second plane with a mobile medical module on-board and a team of doctors has landed to aid the local staff treat the injured tourists.
Police speculated that the driver fell asleep at the wheel, as there are no track marks on the road indicating he had attempted to stop. The vehicle may have been going as fast as 100 kph when it crashed through a highway barrier and fell at least 6 meters.