Seven church workers dead in Ukraine highway accident

Kiev, Ukraine - Three Christian Orthodox priests and four church workers died in a Ukrainian highway accident, Channel 5 television reported Tuesday. The mishap took place on a highway in Ukraine's eastern Kharkiv province late Monday, after a Mercedes microbus transporting the church staff struck a DAF tractor-trailer travelling in the opposite direction.

The microbus' seven passengers all died in the impact, but the driver survived with severe injuries, and was being treated in a local hospital, according to a Mediaport news service report.

The driver of the DAF lorry suffered light injuries, the report said.

The accident came less than a week after an crash in Ukraine's Zaporzhia province left five persons dead, also from a head-on collision between vehicles traveling on a rural highway.

Ukraine's road system is among the world's most dangerous, with more than 9,000 persons killed in road accidents every year, according Interior Ministry data.

Cold weather and poor road maintenance make winter automobile travel in Ukraine particularly risky.