Serbia train crash: Five dead as student bus cut in half

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Police officers at the scene where a train ploughed through a bus in southern Serbia, 21 December 2018Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Investigators assess the damage following a deadly collision near the Serbian city of Niš

A train has slammed into a bus carrying school students in southern Serbia, cutting it in half and killing five people, police say.

Dozens of people were injured and two teenagers were fighting for their lives after the accident, which happened early on Friday near the city of Nis.

A child and two adults were killed instantly, while two other adults died later in hospital, reports said.

Images from the scene showed one of the train's carriages had derailed.

All the casualties in Friday's accident were reportedly on board the bus, which was left twisted and wrecked following the impact at the railway crossing.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The wreckage of the bus was removed from the site at the village of Donje Međurovo

The bus was carrying passengers from surrounding villages to the centre of Nis at the time.

Serbian Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar said 13 of the injured were in a critical condition, including eight teenagers. A boy and girl aged 16 had life-threatening injuries, he said.

One eyewitness, Stevan Jocic, told reporters that he "heard a big bang" and immediately "knew it was bad", Serbian daily Kurir reported.

"The bus was cut down the middle, with passengers inside... high school kids. It was horrific," he said.

Police and ambulance crews reportedly arrived quickly at the scene.

The cause of the collision was unclear, but police said early indications suggested the bus driver was at fault.