Kazakhstan: At least 52 people dead in bus fire

The fire spread very quickly gutting the bus and killing 52 of the 57 people on board Kazakh officials said

About 52 people were killed when a passenger bus in the west of Kazakhstan caught fire. The Ikarus bus was carrying 55 passengers and two drivers, the spokesman said, giving no details on their citizenship.

The bus was travelling from southern Kazakhstan to Russia's Kazan, Kazakh officials said.

According to the regional Emergency Situations Department, the victims are all Uzbek citizens.

The vehicle, which was travelling from Kazakhstan to Russian Federation, burst into flames and the fire tore through the bus - killing dozens inside before they could flee. Rescue personnel saved five people from the burning vehicle and provided medical assistance, authorities said.

He said the fire spread through the bus extremely quickly.

Kazakh media reported the passengers were migrant workers travelling to Russian Federation.

Kenes said the "preliminary theory" of investigators about the cause of the fire was a "short circuit".

The five survivors suffered minor burns and "other traumas" according to emergency services.

A photograph taken later showed the blackened vehicle.

In footage posted online the bus can be seen positioned diagonally across a highway on a snow covered steppe, engulfed in flames and black smoke.

The tragedy, which struck in the area around the city of Aktobe, came less than three years after 16 people, including three children, died in the country when a minibus collided with a van on April 20, 2015.

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