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Nearly 60 die after bus accidents in Poland and Ukraine

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Nearly 60 die after bus accidents in Poland and Ukraine

2010-10-12 21:20:45 GMT+7 (ICT)

KIEV, UKRAINE (BNO NEWS) -- Nearly 60 people were killed on Tuesday after two separate bus accidents in Poland and Ukraine, authorities said. Most of the fatalities were from an accident in the eastern region of Ukraine when a train slammed into a packed passenger bus.

In Ukraine, a train heading to Krivoy Rog and Zaporzhye collided with a passenger bus at a railway crossing on the outskirts of Marhanets in the Dnipropetrovsk region as the bus attempted to cross the track, ignoring a siren that indicated an oncoming train. The bus was dragged for around 30 meters (32 yards) until the train was able to stop.

RIA Novosti reported that the Ukranian Emergency Ministry said that a total of 42 people were killed, including two children. However, local police have only confirmed 38 fatalities. Several people are in a critical condition.

Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich expressed his condolence to the victim's relatives and announced Wednesday as a national day of mourning. In addition, Yanukovich ordered law enforcement agencies to carry out a detailed investigation to establish those responsible for the accident.

In central Poland, eighteen people were killed when a small bus carrying nineteen crashed head-on with a truck. The only survivor on the bus was seriously injured, while the driver of the truck sustained minor injuries.

"Today, we have witnessed two of the deadliest accidents in road transport in Europe this year," said European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. "Thirty-eight people died in Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region. Eighteen people died in Poland in Nowe Miasto nad PilicÄ…,. I send my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these tragic events and to the Ukrainian and Polish authorities."

Buzek said the trend of the number of casualties in the European Union as a result of road accidents in the last ten years is encouraging as the number of casualties dropped from 64,000 in 2000 to 34,000 in 2009. "Yet, far too many Europeans still die on our roads," he said. "The EU objective of halving the number of casualties by 2010 has not been reached. Today's accidents have sadly contributed to the worsening of the death toll."

Buzek urged the European Union and its member states to step-up their efforts in building better and safer infrastructure, raising awareness and punishing violations of traffic rules. "Safety is not a detail and it requires a collective effort on the part of everyone: citizens, governments and European institutions alike," he added.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-10-12

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