Kazakhstan: 52 killed after bus catches fire in Aktau region

Those 52 deceased people were travelling in the north-western part of Kazakhstan when the vehicle suddenly burst into flames.

The bus was headed from the Russian city of Samara on the Volga river to the town of Shymkent in southern Kazakhstan, the ministry said.

More than 50 people died when fire spread through a bus traveling in Kazakhstan and killed nearly everyone aboard, according to authorities.

'Five passengers received medical assistance.

The dead are believed to have been immigrant workers from neighbouring Uzbekistan, the ministry said.

It was reported that most, if not all victims of the accident, were citizens of Uzbekistan.

Many people from Uzbekistan travel to Russian Federation as migrant workers, and the road routes between the two countries cross Kazakhstan.

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Of the survivors, two are citizens of Kazakhstan who were taking turns to drive the bus, and three others are from Uzbekistan.

He said the fire spread through the bus extremely quickly.

Ministry representative Imankulov did not confirm this however, telling AFP: 'It's too early to talk about the reasons for the fire'.

The ministry named the vehicle as a Hungarian-made Ikarus.

In footage posted online the bus can be seen positioned diagonally across a highway on a snow covered steppe, engulfed in flames and black smoke. The buses are still widely used in ex-Soviet nations, even though they are often decades old.

The tragedy, which struck in a remote area around 320-km from the regional centre of Aktobe, highlights the high accident rate in the region.

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