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German police say 10 killed, 69 injured when several buses crash near eastern city of Dresden

A bus wreckage and rescue vehicles stand next to the highway near Dresden, eastern Germany, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Several buses crashed on the highway near the city of Dresden, leaving nine people dead and 43 injured, police said. The crash, which happened about 2 a.m. Saturday, involved a Polish bus, a Ukrainian bus and a Polish minibus, said Dresden police. According to a preliminary investigation, the Polish bus hit the rear of the Ukrainian bus and then broke through the median barrier, crashing into the oncoming minibus. (AP Photo/dpa, Matthias Hiekel)

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A bus wreckage and rescue vehicles stand next to the highway near Dresden, eastern Germany, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Several buses crashed on the highway near the city of Dresden, leaving nine people dead and 43 injured, police said. The crash, which happened about 2 a.m. Saturday, involved a Polish bus, a Ukrainian bus and a Polish minibus, said Dresden police. According to a preliminary investigation, the Polish bus hit the rear of the Ukrainian bus and then broke through the median barrier, crashing into the oncoming minibus. (AP Photo/dpa, Matthias Hiekel)

BERLIN - A crash involving several buses on a highway in eastern Germany killed 10 people and injured 69, police said Saturday.

The crash near Dresden occurred shortly before 2 a.m. when a Polish bus hit the rear of a Ukrainian bus and then broke through the median barrier, slamming into a Polish minibus travelling in the opposite direction, police said. The larger vehicle partly crushed the minibus before rolling down a verge.

"In my 36 years of work as a professional firefighter, I've never witnessed an operation with such a large number of dead and injured," Dresden fire chief Andreas Ruempel told German public broadcaster MDR.

Police said nine people died at the scene, and a 10th person succumbed to injuries in a hospital. At least seven of the victims were travelling in the minibus, but it was unclear where the other three had been, police spokeswoman Jana Ulbricht said.

So far, three men and two women, all of them Polish citizens, have been identified among the dead, Ulbricht said.

The driver of the Polish bus was among the injured. Prosecutors have opened an investigation against him on suspicion of negligent homicide.

Of the 21 persons travelling on the Ukrainian bus, four received treatment for minor injuries.

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