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24 Jul, 2009 19:47

Deadly crash on Southern Russia’s “killer road”

A collision between a petrol tanker and a bus has left 21 dead and up to 8 injured. The road on which it took place, which connects Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar, is known as one of the most dangerous in Russia.

The bus was traveling on the M4 highway, known as the “Kurganinsk – Taganrog – Rostov-on-Don” route. According to the police, the “Ikarus” bus and gasoline tanker collided head-on near the village of Samarskoye.

“The bus was licensed and registered”, said Aleksandr Koverzin, a local police chief. “A Mercedes tanker with a trailer came into the oncoming lane. It veered to the opposite lane which led to the crash.”

Rescue crews and paramedics arrived on the scene immediately to take survivors to hospital.
Senior officials also arrived. A criminal case has been launched, and the head of Russia’s Interior Ministry, Rashid Nurgaliyev, has taken personal control of the investigation.

There was no explosion as the gasoline truck was empty. Both drivers died at the scene, and one child was among the casualties.

“Road to hell” kills thousands each year

The federal M4 highway is one of the most dangerous roads in the country in terms of collision rates. According to the Russian Transport Ministry, each summer as many as three thousand people die in accidents on the M4.

Despite the heavy traffic, the road has only one lane each way. It is 1167 km long and only seven meters wide. In May 2007, officials said that it would not be possible to add two more lanes each way on the M4 by 2009. It was estimated around 155 billion roubles (approximately $5 billion) were needed to enlarge the highway.

Meanwhile, it is the second accident involving a passenger bus in a week. Just a few days ago, eight people were killed and 37 others injured when a bus overturned at full speed in Siberia.

Read also Moscow Metro Kills 200 People Every Year