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Train crashes into stalled bus at Ukraine crossing, killing 43 and injuring 8

Police officers examined the wreckage of a bus after it was hit by a train in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region yesterday. Police officers examined the wreckage of a bus after it was hit by a train in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region yesterday. (Emergency Situations Ministry Press Service via Reuters)
Associated Press / October 13, 2010

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KIEV — A locomotive rammed through a stalled passenger bus on a railroad crossing in eastern Ukraine yesterday, killing 43 people and injuring 8 others as the bus was pushed 300 yards down the tracks.

Investigators said the bus driver ignored the oncoming train’s siren, 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 cars. Television footage showed emergency workers piling bodies alongside the tracks outside the town of Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

“The driver violated traffic rules,’’ said Lyudmila Bolshakova, spokeswoman for local police.

Ukraine railroad officials said the train’s driver saw the bus heading toward the tracks from 500 yards away and sounded the distress siren. The driver applied the emergency brake system, but the locomotive was traveling at a speed of 47 miles per hour.

The railroad’s ombudswoman, Nina Karpachova, cited crash survivor Dmytro Olyinik, 30, who was headed to work in a mine, as saying that the 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 Nikopol, and most of them were going to work.

Road and railway accidents are common in Ukraine, where the roads are in bad condition, vehicles are poorly maintained, and drivers and passengers routinely disregard safety and traffic rules.

The Dnipropetrovsk branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said 38 people died at the scene and five in the hospital.

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