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Passenger Bus Plunges Into St. Petersburg River, Killing 7

Rescue efforts after the bus crash in St. Petersburg on Friday. Valentin Yegorshin / TASS

Updated with new death toll.

At least seven people have died and six injured after a passenger bus plunged into a river in central St. Petersburg, Russia’s Investigative Committee said Friday.

St. Petersburg police said around 20 passengers were on board the bus when it fell off a bridge into the Moika River at around 1:00 p.m. local time. Surveillance video shared by law enforcement showed the bus making a U-turn and crashing through a bridge railing before nosediving into the water.

The driver was arrested and charged with traffic violations, St. Petersburg police announced on Telegram. If found guilty, he faces up to seven years in prison.

The St. Petersburg government’s transportation committee said the driver lost control of the bus.

The state-run TASS news agency reported that about 20 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash.

The death toll could climb higher as doctors continue fighting for the lives of four other passengers who are in a state of clinical death, the St. Petersburg-based news outlet Fontanka reported, citing anonymous sources.

Fontanka later claimed that it identified the driver as a 44-year-old with the name Rakhmatshokh.

“The victims are being provided prompt assistance. I’m coordinating it personally,” St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov wrote on Telegram.

According to State Duma deputy Biysultan Khamzaev, three natives of Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan were the first to start rescuing those trapped inside the bus before official rescuers arrived.

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