Uzbeks killed in Kazakhstan bus inferno

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The accident happened at 10:30 local time on Thursday (04:30 GMT) in the Irgiz district of Aktobe region.

January 18: A bus burns on a road in near the village of Kalybai in Kazakhstan.

A bus has caught fire in north-western Kazakhstan, killing 52 people, the interior ministry has said.

55 passengers and 2 drivers were inside the bus and only 5 people managed to flee the fire.

Emergency officials have opened a telephone hotline for anxious relatives. He said the fire spread very quickly.

A short circuit may have caused the fatal blaze, authorities stated at the briefing, adding that the bus was also overloaded.

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

The five survivors were treated at the scene by emergency workers. A photograph taken later showed the vehicle completely charred.

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.

Local media, however, said the bus was believed to have been carrying Uzbek citizens to or from Russian Federation.

The tragedy, which struck in the area around the city of Aktobe, came less than three years after 16 people, including three children, died in the country when a minibus collided with a van on April 20, 2015.

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