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19 killed, 21 injured in Russia after commuter bus plummets from bridge into frozen river (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

19 killed, 21 injured in Russia after commuter bus plummets from bridge into frozen river (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
A packed bus ruptured a tire and skidded off a bridge, landing upside down in a frozen river in Russia, killing at least 19 passengers. Rescuers fought to free survivors as the vehicle was still at risk of becoming submerged.

The bus fell six meters (about 20 feet) from a bridge over the Kuenga River while traveling from the city of Chita to Sretensk in Zabaykalsky Region in Russia’s Far East on Sunday. Harrowing video footage from the scene shows first responders swarming the damaged bus, which lay upside down on a bloodied snowy surface, with its roof completely smashed in and windows shattered.

Calls for help and wailing were heard in the background. “It’s scary,” one person said, while walking around the bus.

Traffic police said that the bus sustained a burst tire, which caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. There were 45 people on board when the tragedy occurred.

A total of 19 passengers were killed as a result of the crash, and 21 more are injured, local media reported, citing regional authorities.

Fire trucks and ambulances were at the scene as the rescue operation proceeded. Several people remained trapped inside the bus and rescuers hurried to free them, fearing that the bus could go underwater.

All survivors were eventually evacuated and the vehicle was recovered. An investigation has been launched into the crash.

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