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15 Mar, 2009 10:16

Plane sent to evacuate Russian injured tourists from Vietnam

A plane belonging to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations that flew to Vietnam to evacuate Russian tourists injured in a bus crash on Friday, has departed Ho Chi Minh on its way back to Moscow.

The transport plane is carrying 14 Russian tourists injured in a bus crash in southern Vietnam on Friday.

Around 20 medics are on board accompanying the passengers, who were agreed by both Russians and Vietnemese doctors to be in adequate condition to allow their transfer home.

Six out of the 15 injured Russians are bedridden, but there is no threat to their lives.

The plane was sent on Saturday by order of the President Medvedev.

“At the president's order, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has dispatched an Ilyushin Il-76 plane to Vietnam to evacuate Russian citizens injured in a bus accident,” a ministry spokesman was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

Earlier, a ministry source said that medics and psychologists are flying to the country on Sunday to help evacuate the tourists.

Medics from the ministry will evaluate the condition of the injured to determine whether it is possible to transport them.

Seven Russian women and two Russian men were killed in the road accident, which happened on Friday in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan.

Of 14 others who have been hospitalized with injuries, two are reported to be in grave conditions.

The bus, carrying 24 Russian tourists and two Vietnamese citizens, skidded on the mountain road and fell into a deep ravine. Police said that eight people were killed instantly.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed his condolences to the families of the dead.

The president has instructed the Russian Emergencies Minister to provide all necessary assistance to the injured tourists being treated in hospitals in Vietnam and also to the families of those killed in the crash, including airlifting the dead back to Russia.

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet sent a telegram of condolence to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev following the fatal bus crash.

“I am deeply grieved by the tragedy which claimed the lives of nine Russian nationals,” Triet said. “Let me express my deepest condolences to you and the families of the dead.”

Triet pledged that Vietnamese authorities would do their utmost to assist the injured and help organize an airlift of the dead back to Russia.