Pictured: first victims of Russian bus accident in which 19 died
A father whose two children were killed when a bus on which the family rode, crossed 22 feet over a bridge and landed on the roof, spoke of his heartbreak.
Vladimir Vorobiyov, 21, choked tears when he was interviewed from his hospital bed in Siberia about the crash that killed daughter Viktoria, two, and son Oleg.
The fate of Mr Vorobiyov's 22-year-old wife Irina was unclear after the crash, which took place on a bridge over the Kuenga River, in the far east of Russia, on Sunday around 9 a.m. local time.
Nineteen people died in the crash, while another 21 were injured.
One-year-old Oleg (left) and sister Viktoria, two (right), were both crushed to death after a bus rolled 22ft from a bridge in Eastern Russia on Sunday, killing a total of 19 people
Father Vladimir Vorobiyov, 21, who survived the crash, choked tears in his hospital bed when he told of the moment he heard from family members that his children were dead
Witnesses said that Irina had died on the scene that her son was holding so tightly that the two bodies could not be separated, but she was also mentioned by survivors by the local Health Minister.
Vorobiyov – a former conscript in the Russian army – claimed that the bus had been on a treacherous road at temperatures below zero when it tore through the barrier and hit.
& # 39; The driver was driving, it was snowing, an icy road, & # 39; he said. & # 39; People at the back of the bus said to him: & # 39; Don't go that fast. & # 39;
& # 39; So we lost control, and we flew over the bridge, and then I don't remember anything … That was it. & # 39;
He fought tears when he said: & # 39; My wife is here somewhere (in the hospital) … I just called my sister and I was told that my children are no longer alive. & # 39;
A total of 43 passengers and the driver were on the bus as it drove 22ft over the barrier into the Kuenga River, 3,930 miles east of Moscow.
The river was shallow and the whole depth was frozen so that it did not sink under the ice.
The fate of Mr Vorobiyov's 22-year-old wife Irina (left with daughter Viktoria and right) is unclear after the crash. Witnesses said she died while holding her son, but local officials mentioned her name to the survivors
The bus – which was on its way from Sretensk to Chita – lost control at 9 o'clock on Sunday before rolling off a bridge over the Kuenga River and on to solid ice below
Vorobiyov (front left and center right) told how he remembered the bus that fell but lost consciousness before the moment of the collision and woke up in the hospital
The bus was en route from Sretensk to Chita.
It turned off the road and fell about 60 km (37 miles) from Sretensk, & a spokesman for the emergency department said.
One theory is that the Kia Grandbird bus had a flat tire, another that swung over the bridge.
The driver killed in the accident was named Sergey Kubasov, 43.
A criminal investigation into the accident has started.
Witness Natalia Ushakova was one of those who claimed on social media that Irina was killed in the accident.
She wrote: & # 39; They could not remove the child from the arms of his mother (Irina).
& # 39; She was holding him so tightly, rescuers just couldn't open her arms … both were dead. & # 39;
Nineteen people died, including driver Sergey Kubasov, in the bus accident while another 21 were injured
Investigators investigate whether a tire bursts on the bus, causing the accident, or whether the driver has lost control of the vehicle
Alexey Zakurdaev, the head of administration in the Sretensk district, said: & # 39; The bus fell on the roof. All passengers were crushed as if in a can.
& # 39; Four of them came out by themselves. & # 39;
Survivor Olesya Gusevskaya added: & we all slept.
& # 39; Only when the bus fell off the bridge did we all shout. & # 39;
She said: & # 39; This is my second life. I don't know why both my friend and I were so lucky, but we both survived. & # 39;
Kindergarten teacher Zhanna Pestereva, 25, was one of the dead, along with her friend Ekaterina Gorkolenko, 25.
Ekaterina was a teacher. Both were mothers.
Kirill Konovalov, 18, a student of the railway school, was also killed in the crash.
The Russian road safety record is one of the worst in the world.
According to the country's traffic police, a total of 18,214 people were killed in road accidents last year.
This is comparable to the 15,000 Red Army soldiers killed during the entire Soviet war in Afghanistan in 1979-1989.
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