The interior ministry said 52 people were killed. The ministry said the accident had happened at 10.30 a.m. (0430 GMT). The bus had been carrying Uzbek citizens to or from Russia along the Samara-Shymkent route which is about 2,200km (1,300 miles) long. “Five passengers received medical assistance,” the emergency services ministry told to media.
Location of the bus fire
One of the drivers said the passengers were Uzbek nationals and the blaze spread very quickly through the bus which was an old Ikarus model made in Hungary. It is unclear what caused the blaze. investigators suspect it was triggered by a short circuit. Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement its embassy staff were en route to the area, roughly midway between the Russian border and the Aral Sea. Police, rescuers, doctors and psychologists are working at the site. A photograph posted online from the site showed the bus completely burnt out. Last October, another Kazakh-operated bus carrying over 50 Uzbeks was hit by a train in Russia after getting stuck on the tracks. 17 people died in that accident.