At least 18 people have been killed in a bus crash near Moscow.
More than 25 were injured when a gravel lorry ploughed into a passenger bus, splitting it in two, in the village of Oznobishin 40km south of the Russian capital.
Though the exact cause of the crash is unknown, the lorry driver was known to the authorities.
“A week ago, the truck’s registration was cancelled. Nevertheless the driver, a 46-year-old Armenian citizen, continued driving. The driver had been fined six times over the past year for violating traffic rules,” explained Pyotr Biryukov, acting Deputy Mayor of Moscow.
Footage recorded from an approaching car appears to show the moment of impact. The Ria Novosti website reported one witness as saying that the lorry had overtaken several vehicles at speed.
“There are no skid marks. It was not pulling up. It turned out of the road on the wrong side,” said one witness on the scene.
Thirty ambulance crews rushed to the scene and helicopters flew the injured to hospital. Health officials said that some people were more severely injured by the gravel which was thrown from the lorry’s load.
A day of mourning will be held next Monday for the victims.