Poland road crash near Warsaw leaves 18 dead

Wreckage of a transportation van and a lorry near Nowe Miasto nad Pilica, 12 October 2010 Passengers were sitting on wooden boxes and planks in the Volkswagen Transporter

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A road crash south of the Polish capital, Warsaw, has left 18 people dead, police say.

The accident occurred at dawn in thick fog when a lorry and a minibus collided near the town of Nowe Miasto nad Pilica, 80km (50 miles) from Warsaw.

Sixteen people were confirmed dead at the scene and two others who were treated for their injuries in hospital later died.

All those killed, 14 men and four women, were travelling on the minibus.

'Sitting on boxes'

Polish police said the Volkswagen Transporter was taking seasonal workers to their jobs and was overcrowded.

It was designed to carry goods and up to six people, yet three times as many were squeezed in and probably sat on wooden boxes and planks without seatbelts, police and a prosecutor said.

Map

The minibus was probably trying to overtake a third vehicle when it crashed head-on into the lorry.

"The bus swerved into the left-hand lane and hit a large articulated truck", a police spokesperson said.

The lorry driver was slightly hurt.

The passengers were seasonal workers being driven to an orchard in one of Poland's best known apple and plum-growing regions, police said.

Two air ambulances were unable to land at the crash site because of the heavy fog.

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