Authorities say seven people were killed in the St. Petersburg bus crash.

image caption, The accident happened on the Potselovo bridge in the historical center

  • the author, Zahra Fatima
  • the role, BBC News

Seven people have died after a bus plunged into a river in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, according to local authorities.

The accident happened on Friday afternoon at the Potseluev Bridge over the Moika River in the historic city center.

Footage shows the bus swerving into oncoming traffic, smashing into two cars before smashing through a bridge barrier and plunging into the water – submerging within seconds.

Officials said the driver of the bus has been detained and a criminal investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.

Russia's investigative authority announced the death toll in a statement on Telegram on Friday evening.

This comes after initial reports from local authorities that four people are in critical condition and two others are seriously injured after the accident.

According to an estimate, 20 people were on board at the time of the accident.

It happened when the driver of the bus lost control while reversing into the bridge from Bolshaya Murskaya Street.

“Rescue workers pulled nine people out of the submerged bus,” the Emergencies Ministry said on social media. However, three people were reported dead soon after.

CCTV footage from the scene shows bystanders jumping into the water to try to save the passengers.

According to Russian reports, among those who jumped into the river were Idris Gadzhiev, Shehban Jabrilov and Muhammed Hasanov.

“We were driving to Friday prayers when we saw the bus plunge into the river,” Mr Gadziyev told the Fontanka website.

“We were not being heroes, but just doing our civic duty,” Mr. Jabrilov said.

Footage later released by authorities showed emergency services using heavy machinery to pull the bus out of the river.

The Emergencies Ministry later said that rescue operations had been completed.

Potseluev Bridge is in the center of Saint Petersburg, about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from the Hermitage Museum.

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