Thirteen people suffered serious burns in freak accident caused by a sudden burst in hot water pipeline.
There were scenes of panic as people pawed at the windows desperate to escape the bus. Picture: 7th Channel Krasnoyarsk
The boiling water shot out a manhole rising like a fountain to a height of a five storey building. The bus driver tried to go through the obstacle but the road had caved in, and the vehicle drove into the steam-covered crevice, becoming stuck, and turning into an oven on wheels.
The driver jumped through the smashed windscreen to flee but did not open the doors for more than fifteen passengers including five teenagers.
The bus rapidly filled with scorching water in Vavilova Street in Krasnoyarsk.
There were scenes of panic as people pawed at the windows desperate to escape the bus.
'Thirteen people were rushed to hospital with heavy skin burns, some in life-threatening condition,' said regional clinic official Irina Kochetkova.
The boiling water shot out a manhole rising like a fountain to a height of a five storey building. Pictures: 7th Channel Krasnoyarsk
Passenger Svetlana Bochaldina, plucked to safety from the bus, told how she expected to be boiled to death.
'From the ground was the fountain of hot water, everything was covered with steam,' she said. 'It was visible from a long way away. But for some reason the driver drove directly in this steam. Suddenly, this flow of hot water poured into the bus.
'The driver quickly jumped out, otherwise he would have been boiled alive.
'I just do not understand why he went there. Why did he risk people's live?
'All this hot water poured over us, people ran to the back door, but it was locked, we couldn't open it.
'I couldn't breathe, I said goodbye to life and then some man opened the door, and the people rushed out.
'I was just pushed away, the water was hot - and I fell straight into the boiling water. Other people were falling into it, too. Someone picked me up and dragged away. I do not know how long it lasted. I am still shocked'.
The driver could face up to two years jail for traffic regulation violations. Pictures: 7th Channel Krasnoyarsk
Tatyana, waitress in a cafe nearby, said: 'The people inside the bus were not visible. I could only see their palms sliding up and down the windows.
'The driver was running around, holding his head, and then a passerby began to smash the windows with his bare hands.'
These locals pulled people from the waterlogged bus', she said.
'They were all red. They cried out from the inside, but the window was thick and nothing was heard.'
Saibukh Ragimov, an eyewitness, said: 'Water shot out the manhole 20 metres up. We waved our hands to the bus and shouted, 'Don't go!'.
'Probably the bus driver wanted to overtake, but there was steam around, he could not see anything.
'The bus entered straight into the fountain and stopped'.
Terrified passengers jumped on the seats.
'We tried to open the door, but failed. So we broke the window. Two minutes more - it would be the end for them. When I pulled them out, the skin on their hands began to peel off. All of them were roasting hot.
'In the bus there was just boiling water. You could not put your hand there.
'And some people were standing around with phones and filmed everything on their cameras.'
Inessa Puzikova, the owner of the cafe, who gave first aid, said: 'Many people were badly burned, especially their legs. I ran out with the special foam against burns to help them. One kid... his legs were scalded to meat up to his knees'.
'All this hot water poured over us, people ran to the back door, but it was locked'. Pictures: 7th Channel Krasnoyarsk
One woman has 30% burns and is suffering from deep shock, said Vladimir Matskevich, head of the burns resuscitation unit at Krasnoyarsk regional clinical hospital. The press service of LLC 'Siberian Generating Company' blamed the accident on wear and tear of the pipe, built in 1976.
The driver could face up to two years jail for traffic regulation violations.
Colleagues said he did not open the doors hoping this would keep the boiling water out.
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