November 22nd, 2007 13:25 EST
Bus blast kills six in southern Russia
Six people have reportedly been killed after a passenger bus exploded in Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia. More than ten are believed to be injured. An explosive device has been found in the back of the mangled bus, and authorities are not ruling out a terrorist attack.
Fire crews and investigators are working at the scene.
Police are searching for six men, who are said to have got off the bus before it exploded.
The North Ossetian President, Taimuraz Mamsurov, is already on the scene.
The bus was travelling from the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in Russia’s North Caucasus to North Ossetia.
The accident took place at 6.10 pm Moscow time (3.10 pm GMT) at a checkpoint near the village of Iran, which is right on the border between the two Russian republics.
According to some reports, there were 17 passengers on the bus. At least four of them were killed when the blast occurred. Two more died in a local hospital.
More than ten injured remain in hospital.
There are contradicting reports about what caused the explosion.
One of the versions is that it could have been a terrorist act. According to some sources, parts of an explosive device were found on the side of the road.
Previous blast in southern Russia
The incident is the second bus blast in southern Russia in less than a month.
On October 31, eight people were killed and more than 60 injured in an explosion on a bus in the city of Togliatti in Samara region.
That blast occurred shortly after 8 am as many people were making their way to work or to college. Most of the victims were students.
Evgeny Vakhrushev, a 21-year-old who died in the blast, has been named as the person responsible for the tragedy. Police believe he was carrying the bomb when it exploded.
The motive still remains unclear.