Seven people were killed and 16 injured when a bus caught fire in rural Ukraine on Thursday, reports quoting government officials said, DPA reported. The bus had been travelling along its regular route between the cities Kramatorsk and Luhansk, when the fire started on a road in the eastern Donetsk province.

A total 30 passengers were known to have been aboard the LAZ bus, Ihor Krol, a spokesman, for the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) said.

Emergency workers on the scene were still searching for seven missing passengers. It was not clear weather the bus driver survived the fire.

The burning vehicle had halted on the open road between the villages Raigorod and Brusino, Krol said.

Police were investigating the cause of the blaze.

Ukraine`s rural public transport system is among Europe`s most dangerous, because of accidents in Soviet-era microbuses lacking seatbelts.

Fires aboard such vehicles are not uncommon, with the most caused by poor maintenance, fuel cannisters in baggage, dropped cigarettes, and cooking fires started by passengers.

DPA via Earth Times