52 people killed in Kazakhstan bus fire

ASTANA: Fifty-two people were killed on Thursday (Jan 18) when the Russia-bound bus they were travelling on caught fire in Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation’s emergency services ministry said. A handout picture provided by the Kazakh emergency situations ministry on Jan 18, 2018 shows a charred bus on a road in the region around the city of Aktobe. (Photo: Handout / Kazakhstan’s emergency situations ministry / AFP) “On January 18 at 10:30 am (0430 GMT), a bus caught fire … 55 passengers and two drivers were on board. Five people who managed to escape are receiving medical assistance. The rest died on the spot,” the ministry said, without elaborating on the cause of the blaze. All those who died are believed to be Uzbek nationals, an interior ministry official told Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency. Kazakh media reported they were migrant workers travelling to Russia. Uzbekistan’s emergency services ministry said it had opened a hotline. The vehicle was registered in Kazakhstan, emergency services ministry official Ruslan Imankulov told AFP. He said the fire spread very quickly. – Short circuit blamed – Regional emergency service officials initially blamed the fire on a short circuit and said the bus was overloaded, Interfax-Kazakstan news agency reported. Ministry representative Imankulov did not confirm this however, telling AFP: “It’s too early to talk about the reasons for the fire.” Panic broke out on board the bus, hindering evacuation, while survivors managed to climb through a door and window, Kazakh news site BNews reported. Two of the survivors… [Read full story]

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