25 dead in Russian bus crash

MOSCOW : Twenty-five people were killed Friday in southern Russia when a bus collided with a truck in a "monstrous" crash that was horrifying even by the grim state of Russia's roads, news agencies said.

The deadly accident occurred at about midday when a passenger bus collided head-on with a fuel truck in the country's southern Rostov region, located around 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) south of Moscow.

The crash, near the village of Samarskoye, took place after the fuel truck swerved into the wrong side of the road and rammed the bus, which was heading from the city of Krasnodar to Rostov-on-Don, the statement said.

Television pictures showed the front of the bus entirely smashed in and ambulances surrounding the scene.

Russian news agencies reported that the drivers of the bus and the truck were killed and that the victims included children.

"There was no fire but the collision was of monstrous force," the Interfax news agency 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 to 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.

In a rare public comment on a traffic accident by the head of state, President Dmitry Medvedev slammed Russia's sub-standard road conditions and poor driving record.

"This type of impossible and unimaginable event occurs not merely because the roads are of rueful quality," Medvedev said in remarks broadcast on state television.

"That is part of it. But this is also a result of how the roads are managed and a result of the lack of discipline, the criminal laxity of drivers," he said.