Reports: 21 killed in a bus crash on a road in central Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — At least 21 people died when a bus overturned following a collision with a tanker on a road in central Iran, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

Iranian state television said the accident happened late on Monday on the road linking the cities of Kashan and Natanz, about some 250 kilometers (156 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

The intercity bus was taking passengers from Tehran to the city of Kerman, some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast, when the accident took place.

Many Iranians are traveling this week as the four-day major Shiite Muslim holiday of Ashura gets underway.

The TV said 20 people were injured in the crash and were taken to local hospitals. The survivors included two women and two boys under the age of six.

It broadcast footage showing the burning bus and tanker, flames rising into the nighttime sky as rescue teams rushed about at the site.

An unnamed survivor told the TV from his hospital bed that the crash happened close to midnight.

“The flames started at the front of the bus as diesel from the tanker poured in,” he said, adding that he managed to escape through a bus window.

With some 17,000 motorists killed annually, Iran has one of the world’s worst traffic safety records, attributed mainly to widespread disregard for traffic laws, unsafe vehicles and inadequate emergency services.

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