Bus crash kills Russian tourists in Israel

An Israeli bus full Russian tourists veers off a desert road and plunged down a ravine killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens.

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JERUSALEM // An Israeli bus full of newly arrived Russian tourists veered off a desert road and plunged down a ravine today killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens, Israeli emergency services said. The crash, one of the worst Israeli road accidents in years, occurred near the Egyptian border, north of the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. A police source said the passengers were Russian tourists who had just landed at a nearby airport. Israel's Airport Authority said the flight had arrived from St Petersburg.

An official at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv said he had no confirmed information but the embassy had sent a representative to the scene. Television footage showed bodies, luggage and wreckage strewn down a steep slope, above the mangled wreckage of a bus. The Zaka rescue service reported 24 people were killed and about a dozen seriously injured, and said army helicopters were at the scene to help rescue the injured.

"Quite a large number of people have been killed as a result of a bus crash," said Micky Rosenfeld, the national police spokesman. He said helicopters were flying injured passengers to a hospital in Beersheba and others were taken by ambulance to a hospital in Eilat. * Reuters