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Cyprus

Two teenage girls, driver dead in school bus collision with truck [VIDEO]

 

Two sixteen-year-old girls and the driver of a school bus taking them to school died on Tuesday morning, after colliding with a truck on the Dikomo to Kyrenia road on Pentadaktylos mountain in the north.

Two people, a 15-year-old pupil and the wife of the driver, 53, were in critical condition, doctors said. One other girl, 17, sustained head injuries but she was able to communicate. All three were in the intensive care unit.

Four other pupils, two boys and two girls aged between 16 and 18, were receiving treatment in hospital but their condition was not life threatening.

The minibus was carrying 10 passengers, including the wife of the 57-year-old driver. They were on their way to Nicosia from Hardjia.

The accident occurred at 6.10am (7.10am Turkish time) with the injured starting to arrive at the hospital by 6.45am.

People immediately rushed to the hospital to donate blood after an appeal. The needs have been covered.

Health official Faiz Soutiouoglou said the driver and the two girls, who were travelling in the front seats lost their lives when their minibus collided head-on with a truck.

The truck driver, a 25-year-old man was arrested. The accident happened when the driver came out of a nearby quarry, veering off course and colliding head-on with the minibus.

The incident has sparked outrage in the north with people criticizing officials for emulating Turkey in not turning back clocks an hour.

The darkness, coupled with the bad condition of the rural road where the accident happened are considered as the main causes.

Three teacher unions, Ktoeos, Ktos, and Dau-Sen, held the administration in the breakaway state responsible, calling it a puppet.

In a joint statement, the unions censured the bad condition of the roads, the lack of inspections on vehicles carrying passengers, and the absence of measures to prevent road accidents.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has cut short his visit to Istanbul and was returning to Cyprus at 7pm on Tuesday instead of Wednesday morning.

In the Republic, deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said assistance had been offered to Turkish Cypriot health authorities.

President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

Greek Cypriot parties and other organisations also offered their regrets and condolences to the families.

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