Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 22° Clear
News >  World

52 people killed in central Kazakhstan bus fire

In this Kazakhstan Ministry for Emergency Situations photo, made available on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, a bus burns on a road in near the village of Kalybai in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s emergency officials say 52 people of 57 on the bus died on the fire. (Kazakhstan Ministry for Emergency Situations / Associated Press)
In this Kazakhstan Ministry for Emergency Situations photo, made available on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, a bus burns on a road in near the village of Kalybai in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s emergency officials say 52 people of 57 on the bus died on the fire. (Kazakhstan Ministry for Emergency Situations / Associated Press)
By Peter Spinella Tribune News Service

MOSCOW – More than 50 people have been killed in a fire in a bus in central Kazakhstan, the country’s Emergencies Ministry said Thursday.

Of the 57 people on board the bus, which was travelling between the cities of Samara and Shymkent, only five made it out alive, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The remaining 52 passengers died at the scene in the Aktobe region of Kazakhstan, he said, adding that the five survivors were receiving medical treatment in hospitals.

The bus was en route from Uzbekistan to Russia. According to preliminary information, all of the deceased were Uzbek nationals, state news agency Kazinform reported.

Those who survived were three Kazakhs and two Uzbeks, the news agency reported. Two of those Kazakhs were the vehicle’s drivers.

Authorities believe the fire was probably caused by a short circuit, Russian state media reported.

The bus’s operator did not have a license for conducting passenger transport services, and the vehicle’s safety certification had expired two years ago, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing Kazakh authorities.

A side door on the double-decker bus was blocked, preventing passengers from escaping, RIA Novosti reported.

Authorities have opened a criminal case on a charge of road safety or vehicle operation violations leading to the death of multiple people.

The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, Kazinform reported. Kazakhstan has set up a special commission to investigate.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.