19 killed in Russia as bus skids off bridge and plunges onto frozen river in eastern Siberia

Nineteen people were killed when the bus they were travelling in plunged off a bridge onto a frozen river in eastern Siberia.

The coach-style bus flipped in the air and landed upside down on the ice, crushing the roof of the vehicle and causing the seating area to collapse.

Two children were among the victims, The Siberian Times reported.

It added that the 43-year-old driver also died in the crash. Friends told the newspaper he was an experienced driver.

A further 22 passengers were injured, Russian emergency services said.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said.

Initial enquiries suggested the bus skidded off the seven-metre-high bridge after a front wheel failed or a tyre burst.

There were 43 passengers on board the bus which was travelling from Sretensk to Chita when the accident occurred over the Kuenga River in eastern Siberia's Zabaikalsky region, near the China and Mongolia borders.

Two air ambulance including five land vehicles with paramedics attended the scene.

The injured were taken to three hospitals in the nearby towns of Shilka, Nerchinsk and Sretensk for treatment.

The Trans-Baikal regional authorities said the bus had been through all necessary checks before the journey, The Siberian Times reported.