May 19, 2016 / 4:09 PM / a year ago

Six Russian servicemen die in accident in breakaway South Ossetia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Six Russian military servicemen died and 16 were injured when a bus carrying them veered off a mountain road in the breakaway South Ossetia region of ex-Soviet Georgia on Thursday, the local emergencies minister told Reuters.

“Most probably, the equipment was out of order. The bus plunged from a height of some forty meters,” Sergei Sanakoyev said by telephone. He said four servicemen were in grave condition and would be taken to Moscow by plane.

A failure of the brakes could have caused the accident, Russian news agencies cited Russia’s defense ministry as saying.

Russia sided with separatist rebels when it fought a five-day war against Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008. After that conflict, Moscow beefed up its military presence in the breakaway region.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe

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