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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Commission Faults Bus, Train in Rostov Accident

Last month's tragic collision between a train and a school bus in the southern region of Rostov was the result of errors by both the bus driver and train engineer, the head of the government commission investigating the accident said Friday.

Twenty-one people, all but one of them children, died in the Sept. 26 collision.

Deputy prime minister Oleg Lobov, who heads the investigating commission, told reporters that the accident occurred when the driver of the bus, whom he identified as A. Sidelnikov, ignored a stop signal at a railroad crossing.

Sidelnikov received a fractured pelvis, and remains in the hospital in serious condition.

For his part, the train's engineer, Vladimir Nechayenko, failed to heed a signal from his assistant that the train was approaching the crossing. As a result, the train was travelling at 80 kilometers per hour at the time of the collision, Lobov said, adding that there was a fog at the time of the accident.

The bus was crushed when the train struck its mid-section, dragging debris some 300 meters beyond the site of the collision, according to Russian press reports.

Nineteen people -- 18 children and one adult -- died instantly. Another eighteen, most of them children, were seriously injured. Lobov credited a quick response by the local emergency services with saving the lives of many of the injured.

The investigating commission found that the bus driver did not have the three year's training required for his job, and that his company, called "Lada," had not provided any on-the-job training.

"Besides that, there was no medical check-up of the driver before he went out on his route," said Lobov.

According to Russian press reports, he had been driving the route for only twenty days.

In addition, the commission noted that the parents of the victims had been forced to bus their children to a distant school because those in their own neighborhoods were old and in sub-standard condition.

"All these circumstances taken together led to the tragedy," Lobov said.

The commission, working with the local administration, has taken measures to provide for the rehabilitation of those children seriously injured in the accident, Lobov said. Local businessmen have established a fund to help the families of the victims, and the Russian government will give 10 million rubles for each of the injured victims, 15 million rubles for each of those who died.