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Minivan crashes, kills at least 3 in Central Russia

MOSCOW, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - At least three people are believed dead and ten injured in Central Russia Thursday after a minivan collided with a truck and exploded around 3 p.m. Moscow time (11 a.m. GMT), local traffic police said.

A propane-powered GAZelle minivan with reportedly 14 people onboard collided with a road maintenance truck painting the roadside as it traveled toward Tolyatti, a city on the Volga where Russia's largest carmaker, VAZ, is based. The van's propane canister exploded as a result of the collision. Road workers were uninjured.

Urban transport operators using GAZelles, cheap Russian-made prolific minivans, for small passenger transfers, have been repeatedly criticized by watchdogs and authorities for low safety standards and are notorious for speeding to increase revenues. The police could not say whether speeding was involved.

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