AQTOBE: At least 52 people have been killed in what authorities say was a “bus fire” in Kazakhstan’s northwestern region of Aqtobe.
Aqtilek Kenes, the head of the Emergency Situations Department in Kazakhstan’s Aqtobe region, told reporters on January 18 that all of the victims were citizens of Uzbekistan.
Kenes said five people on the bus who survived the fire also were Uzbek citizens.
Officials say the bus caught fire at 10:30 a.m. local time about 10 kilometres from the village of Qalybai on a highway that links the Russian city of Samara with Kazakhstan’s southern city of Shymkent.
Local police, investigators, rescue workers, and psychologists were working at the scene of the fire on January 18.
In an initial statement, authorities said they were still investigating why the Hungarian-built Ikarus passenger bus caught fire.
Ikarus was a main supplier of buses within the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc from the 1960s through the 1980s.