Moscow - Russian authorities say at least 18 people are dead after a bus packed with construction workers fell into the sea in a southern region near Crimea. The federal Investigative Committee said the accident occurred at about 8 a.m. on August 25 as the bus was carrying workers after a shift building a pier on the Taman Peninsula in Krasnodar Krai. The Emergency Situations Ministry said the bus plunged off the pier and into the water. Regional emergency and health officials said that 18 people were killed and more than 30 hospitalized, including seven who were in grave condition. Divers were working at the site and the bus was retrieved from the water after the accident, whose cause was unknown, authorities said.
A photograph on the Emergency Situations Ministry website showed the blue bus on the pier, upside down and badly damaged, its windshield shattered and the roof apparently caved in. The accident occurred in Volna, a Taman Peninsula village where the workers were building a pier for oil-and-gas company Tamanneftegaz. Russia is building a bridge linking the Taman Peninsula to Crimea, the Ukrainian region on the Black Sea that Moscow occupied and seized in 2014. It was not immediately clear whether the pier is related to the bridge project.