Nine people were killed and three injured on Sept. 21 as a minibus crashed with a truck on the highway in Odesa Oblast, the police reported.
The accident took place around 2 p.m. some 12 kilometers west of Odesa, a major Black Sea city 440 kilometers south of Kyiv.
The police don’t yet reveal what caused the crash. The drivers of both vehicles were among the killed.
The high number of the killed may have been caused by poor safety provisions of the minibus, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that served as a route bus connecting Odesa with some of the nearby towns and villages. According to the local media, the minibus was packed with people, meaning that some of the passengers were likely standing inside.
In the past two decades, minibusses like that became the lifeblood of the public transportation system in Ukraine, substituting and replacing the regular buses and trams. Known as marshrutkas, they are privately run and notoriously unsafe. The minibuses are often decrepit, have no seat belts, and are operated by overworked drivers. Passengers often ride standing.
Earlier the same week, on Sept. 16, two of such minibusses crashed in Odesa Oblast, leaving 23 people injured. Police said that no one was killed because all the passengers were seated.
The deadliest crash involving a marshrutka minibus in Ukraine’s history took place in Marganets, a town in Dnipro Oblast, in 2010. The bus was crossing the railroad tracks and was hit by a train. Forty-five out of 49 people on the bus were killed, including three children.