Reuters International

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 metres," 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 defence 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)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International