July 7, 2012

14 Russian Pilgrims Die in Ukraine Bus Crash

July 7, 2012

A bus with pilgrims from Russia got into an accident on a Ukrainian highway, leaving 14 dead and 29 wounded. The bus driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle which crossed into the oncoming lane, driving into a drainage ditch and rolling over.

The bus with Orthodox Christian pilgrims from Velikie Luky in the Pskov region of Russia crashed at 5:30 am local time near the city of Chernigov in northern Ukraine. The passengers were traveling to Pochaevskaya Lavra Monastery. There were 43 people on board the bus, including 41 passengers and 2 drivers.

Preliminary data suggests the pilgrims, mostly women aged 20-70, organized the trip and hired the bus themselves. The driver, who has been detained, appears to have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Both the drivers insist they were not sleeping when the bus crashed, and deny responsibility for the accident, local media report.

“The bus had to turn into the oncoming lane because of a white car that suddenly wheeled into their lane, and was moving fast onto them,” Itar-Tass quotes a Ukrainian broadcaster as saying.

Eighteen pilgrims wounded in the crash were brought to a Chernigov hospital, RIA-Novosti reports. Six remain in serious condition.

Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) is actively cooperating with Ukrainian police and the Interior Ministry in investigating the tragedy. Two Russian emergency planes arrived to the country to evacuate the wounded. One of the planes flew back to Moscow Sunday night, bringing 14 of the 29 injured passengers along. The other plane flew 11 wounded passengers, who are not in critical condition, as well as the corpses of the pilgrims, to Pskov, says EMERCOM.

The transfer of three people has not been allowed due to their health condition. One more person will have to stay in Ukraine at the investigators' request.

Authorities in the Pskov Region on Russia’s western border have declared July 9-11 as days of mourning. Compensation payments have been set at 600,000 rubles (some $18,000) to the families of those killed and at 200,000 rubles (some $6,000) to those injured.

Russia’s Emergency Ministry has updated the lists of those either killed or injured in the accident:
Injured (name, year of birth):

1. Belyakov Dmitry, 1986
2. Kozitskaya Irina, 1962
3. Logvinenko Yulia, 1966
4. Chernova Tatyana, 1959
5. Polyakova Antonina, 1965
6. Sokolova Valentina, 1981
7. Illarionova Galina, 1953
8. Zubova Tatyana, 1954
9. Zhurkina Viktoria, 1988
10. Potashenkov Sergey, 1981
11. Vasilyova Olga, 1976
12. Snigiryova Natalia, 1978
13. Katerinich Andrey, 1975
14. Pavlova Maria, 1936
15. Suprun Nina, 1944
16. Kasyanova Lyudmila, 1968
17. Malakhova T., 1953
18. Belagurova V., 1960
19. Yevseeva I., 1966
20. Proshchenkova T., 1956
21. Boyarishcheva L., 1938
22. Kruglova G., 1967
23. Smirnova N., 1951
24. Timofeeva O., 1953
25. Guseva L., 1959
26. Boyarchuk A., 1974
27. Zalisova T., 1969
28. Kremkov V., 1959
29. Potashenkova K., 1953

Dead (name, year of birth):

1. Murzina L., 1946
2. Turovskaya L., 1949
3. Chernysheva M., 1941
4. Zalisova L., 1994
5. Kistova V., 1941
6. Lashchinina E., 1950
7. Golubeva L., 1964
8. Kovalyova N., 1955
9. Moryakova M., 1962
10. Furayeva E., 1995
11. Furayeva N., 1954
12. Chestokina A., 1956
13. Barabanova A., 1975
14. Kopayeva N., 1959