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43 killed when train hits stalled bus in Ukraine

Officials say this bus was stalled on the tracks when it was hit by a locomotive Tuesday on a railroad crossing outside the town of Marhanets, Ukraine, in the Dnipropetrovsk region. 

Associated Press

Officials say this bus was stalled on the tracks when it was hit by a locomotive Tuesday on a railroad crossing outside the town of Marhanets, Ukraine, in the Dnipropetrovsk region. 

KIEV, Ukraine — A train locomotive rammed a stalled passenger bus on a railroad crossing in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing 43 people and injuring eight others as the bus was pushed about 325 yards down the tracks.

Investigators said the bus driver ignored the siren of the oncoming train, and the bus stalled on the tracks as the driver tried to shift gears. Witnesses said the driver also ignored a red light.

The yellow bus was smashed into a pile of metal by the blue locomotive, which was not pulling any cars. Television footage showed emergency workers piling bodies alongside the tracks outside the town of Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

"The (bus) driver violated traffic rules," said Lyudmila Bolshakova, a spokeswoman for the local police.

Ukraine's railway said the train driver saw the bus heading toward the tracks from about 550 yards away and sounded a siren, which the bus driver ignored. The train driver applied the emergency brake system, but the locomotive was traveling at 47 mph and was unable to stop in time.

According to a Ukraine official, crash survivor Dmytro Olyinik, 30, who was headed to his job in a nearby mine, said the bus passengers tried to stop the driver from crossing the tracks when they saw the red light and heard the siren. They started screaming "Where are you going?" Olyinik was reported as saying.

Local railway officials said the bus was packed with commuters traveling from Marhanets to the nearby city of Nikopol, most of them heading for work.

Road and railway accidents are common in Ukraine, where roads and vehicles are poorly maintained. But officials said this was the deadliest auto accident in the country's history.

Officials said 38 people died on the spot and five more in the hospital. The victims included a child and two teenagers.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov ordered his government to pay the family of each of the dead passengers $12,600. He also instructed transport officials to install automated crossing gates at all railway crossings to prevent cars, buses and trucks from ignoring signals.

43 killed when train hits stalled bus in Ukraine 10/12/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:41pm]

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