School pupils among 12 dead in Slovak crash on ‘Road of Death’

This Handout picture made available by the Slovak Police on November 13, 2019, shows the emergency services working at the scene of collision between a public bus and a truck near the village of Malanta on the outskirts of the city of Nitra, Slovakia. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2019

School pupils among 12 dead in Slovak crash on ‘Road of Death’

  • According to reports on Slovak commercial TV channel Markiza, the truck skidded and hit the bus from the side
  • Some 30 firefighters are at the scene to help the injured, while rescuers have deployed helicopters and sent in psychologists

BRATISLAVA: At least 12 people were killed, including four students, when a public bus carrying school pupils and a truck loaded with rocks and soil collided in mountainous western Slovakia on Wednesday, rescuers and officials said.
Officials said 20 people were hurt in the crash, which happened on the outskirts of the city of Nitra, a regional capital some 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Bratislava, around 1:00 p.m. local time (1200 GMT).
The section where the accident occurred is commonly referred to as the “Road of Death,” according to local media.
Images from the site showed the truck lying on its side and the bus wedged in a ditch, with a large amount of soil and rocks strewn on the road.
“Mostly teenagers, secondary grammar students, were aboard this regular bus line from Nitra to Jelenec,” Nitra fire brigade spokesman Michal Varga told AFP, adding that the truck was “fully loaded with rocks.”
He added that the cause of the crash was unknown.
The fire and rescue department said on its Facebook page that the toll was 12 dead and 20 injured.
Minister of Health Andrea Kalavska told journalists at the accident site that of those killed “at least four were underage.”
Interior Minister Denisa Sakova told the press at the scene that the truck was “probably overloaded.”
According to reports on Slovak commercial TV channel Markiza, the truck skidded and hit the bus from the side.
The bus serves as a regular line between Nitra and the village of Jelenec east of the city.
Rescuers at first put the number of dead at 13, before correcting the toll.
Some 30 firefighters are at the scene to help the injured, while rescuers have deployed helicopters and sent in psychologists.
They said rescue work was hampered by bad weather as Slovakia was hit by heavy rain on Wednesday, although there was no rain when the accident occurred.


Arsenal’s Ozil condemns Muslim silence over Uighurs

Updated 9 sec ago

Arsenal’s Ozil condemns Muslim silence over Uighurs

  • China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the Uighur population
  • Turkey is home to an Uighur community and has regularly raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang

ISTANBUL: Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, a German footballer of Turkish origin, on Friday expressed support for Uighurs in Xinjiang and criticized Muslim countries for their failure to speak up for them.
“Qur’ans are being burnt... Mosques are being shut down ... Muslim schools are being banned ... Religious scholars are being killed one by one ... Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil wrote in Turkish on his Twitter account.
“The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard,” he wrote on a background of a blue field with a white crescent moon, the flag of what Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.
China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the Uighur population to reflect China’s majority Han culture.
Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up in the camps in the tightly-controlled region.
After initially denying the camps, China describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of extremism and violence.
Turkey, which takes its name from Turkic people who migrated from central Asia, is home to an Uighur community and has regularly raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang.
In his tweet, Ozil said Western states and media had kept the Uighurs issue on their agenda and added: “what will be remembered years later would not be the torture by the tyrants but the silence of their Muslim brothers.”
The 31-year-old footballer, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raising questions about his loyalty to Germany on the eve of their 2018 World Cup campaign.
Ozil later quit the national squad, accusing German football officials of racism. Erdogan was Ozil’s best man when the footballer was married in Istanbul this year.