03:25 GMT30 March 2020
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    Three people died, 44 hospitalized in a road crash involving a bus and a car near Russia's southern city of Novorossiysk, Sergei Pulikovskiy, the Krasnodar Territory emergencies minister, said on Thursday.

    A source said late on Wednesday that a passenger bus and a car collided and fell off a cliff near the settlement of Verkhnebakanskiy close to Novorossiysk, located in Russia's Krasnodar Territory.

    "Around 32 people have been injured. They have all received medical assistance and were taken to hospitals. Three people died. All of them have been taken [from the site of the crash]," Pulikovskiy said live on Rossiya 24 TV channel.

    "All those killed are passengers of a car — a woman and two minor children. The driver of the Volkswagen Touareg car, born in 1974, is alive with moderate injuries. He has been hospitalized," the regional branch of the Interior Ministry said.

    Previously, a spokesperson of the regional emergencies services said that four people had died and thirty others been taken to hospitals.

    Krasnodar Territory Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said that an emergency centre had been set up in the region to deal with the accident.

    The regional branch of the Russian Investigative Committee said that investigators had been dispatched to the site of the crash to find out reasons behind the accident.

    Later, the Krasnodar Territory Health Ministry said that forty-four people, including 12 children, had been hospitalized after a road accident.

    "Forty-four people have been hospitalized after a road accident involving a bus in Novorossiysk. Thirteen people have had emergency surgeries," the Health Ministry said.

    The ministry added that medics have consulted regional medical aviation units and decided to transfer three people to a hospital in the regional administrative centre of Krasnodar by ambulance cars. They also plan to transport one child to a Krasnodar hospital. The medics are currently waiting for his condition to stabilize.

    Meanwhile, the city administration said that five out of 44 people, who had been hospitalized, were in serious condition.

    The Russian Interior Ministry's General Administration for Road Traffic Safety said that according to the preliminary information, at 10:20 p.m. (19:20 GMT) on Wednesday, a Volkswagen Touareg and a Hyundai bus collided on a highway connecting Novorossiysk and the Kerch Strait. The authority added that after the two vehicles collided, they fell off a 30-meter (98-feet) cliff.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said there were a total of 45 people inside the two vehicles as they collided.

    "There were 41 people inside the bus (39 passengers, a driver and a guide) and four people were inside the car. There were a total of 45 people," the ministry's press service said.


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