Road accident takes six young lives

Six young people aged 17 to 26 died in a head-on collision between their tiny Skoda 120 and a 40-ton transport truck Tuesday night on a dangerous stretch of highway between northern Slovakia's Žilina and Martin towns.

The six were killed immediately and their car crushed by the truck, which according to police braked but could not avoid colliding with the Skoda. The truck driver, who tested negative for alcohol, said the car driver had attempted to overtake another vehicle but had skidded on a patch of road.

The accident occurred in the middle of a bridge, leaving the vehicles no room to maneuver. The car's engine was found under the back wheels of the truck, while other parts of the Skoda had to be freed by hydraulic lifts from under the front of the transport.

The highway on which the accident occurred, the I-18, is narrow, busy and one of the most dangerous in the country. It has already accounted for 10 of the 53 road deaths this year in Žilina region.

However police warn that Slovaks in general are tending to drive more aggressively and carelessly, and note that traffic deaths are up over 50 per cent in Žilina above the 35 recorded in the same period last year.

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