UFA — A woman was killed and 15 people, including two children, were injured after a bus plunged into a quarry in the southern Urals republic of Bashkortostan, the local Interior Ministry said Friday.
The incident occurred on Thursday night after a PAZ passenger bus swerved off the mountain road and plunged from a 10-meter (33-foot) height into a quarry some 220 kilometers to the west of the republic's capital of Ufa.
The ministry said 15 people, including two children, were hospitalized and two of the injured people remain in critical condition.
Investigators are working to establish the exact cause of the traffic accident, amid conflicting reports about the driver's culpability.
Traffic inspection police said that the driver is in stable condition and is speaking. "In his words, the bus' brakes failed, but this needs to be checked by our experts." They added that the driver was not drunk.
Initial reports suggested that the driver simply lost control of the vehicle on a difficult section of the road.
The driver, "presumably, on the way down the mountain road couldn't cope with the steering, crashed through the road-side fence, after which the bus tipped into the quarry," the ministry's report said.
Material from The Moscow Times is included in this report.