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19 dead as fuel tanker and bus collide



At least 19 people were killed when a bus and a fuel tanker collided in central Iran , state television reported on Tuesday .The collision , which occurred around 11 : 15 pm ( 18 : 45 GMT ) on Monday , triggered a fireball that engulfed both the truck and the bus on the motorway between Kashan and Natanz , more than 200 kilometres ( 125 miles) south of the capital Tehran .

“ Based on preliminary investigations , the tanker swerved to the side , hitting the bus and causing an explosion and fire which killed 19 of the passengers at the scene , ” traffic police commander General Mohammad – Hossein Hamidi said .

State television aired footage of firefighters battling the blaze as emergency crews rushed to take the wounded to nearby hospitals .

President Hassan Rouhani said more needed to be done by the authorities to prevent road deaths .

“ Such tragic , irreparable road accidents indicate that there are technical , managerial and supervisory shortcomings , ” Rouhani said in a statement on his official website.

Authorities “ must find a fundamental solution so that no one witnesses such tragic incidents again. ”

Iran has one of the highest road death rates in the world , with health ministry officials reporting around 16 , 300 killed in the Iranian year that ended in March and a further 336 , 000 injured .

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Among the main causes are reckless driving , the poor quality of the road network , particularly in rural areas , and the large number of domestically manufactured vehicles equipped with outdated technology due to US – led sanctions .

( AFP )