THIS is the horror moment a packed bus plunges off a bridge and into a river in St Petersburg killing at least seven people.

Dramatic footage shows the bus swerving on the street before crashing into the bridge and completely sinking into the Russian Moika River.

The bus can be seen crashing into the bridge in St Petersburg

Footage shows the out-of-control vehicle plunging into the Moika river

The bus can be seen entirely submerged in the water after smashing the side of the bridge

A massive rescue operation was launched by Russian authorities

The number 262 bus, which was carrying 20 people, appears out of control as it keeps turning and eventually smashes into an oncoming car.

It then can be seen crashing through the side of the bridge and falling into the water.

At least seven people died in the horrific accident while another eight were pulled out alive through the hatch in the roof of the bus by rescuers.

Another ten got out on their own and were collected by rescue boats in the Moika River, according to reports.

At least five people were taken to hospital.

Reports said the driver was among those who escaped and was immediately detained, with a criminal case opened.

Witnesses suggested that the bus was faulty leading to the bizarre crash.

Searches of the river are ongoing.

“The authorities have already promised to provide the necessary assistance to all victims,” reported Readovka media outlet.

A witness said the bus swerved before the collision.

“He started hitting cars that were parked. Everything happened quickly,” he said.

A student called Mikhail said: “I saw the moment the bus hit the car, it spun around and it began to fall.

“The bus went sideways, smashed the curb, smashed a fence and fell sideways.”

Another witness said: “The driver of the bus, when turning from Bolshaya Morskaya Street to Potseluyev (‘Kissing’) Bridge, lost control, the bus spun around, it broke through the fence and fell into the water.”

Back in March, at least 45 people died in a horrific bus crash in South Africa.

The bus was sent plunging 165ft down a rocky surface before erupting into flames with only one person surviving the terrifying ordeal – an eight-year-old girl.

Earlier this year at least 31 people were killed when a driver lost control of a bus violently flipping it upside down and sending it plunging off a bridge.

The bus had been travelling from Kenieba in Mali, Western Africa, to the neighbouring town of Burkina Faso.

And last year 21 people were killed after a tourist bus plunged 50ft off an overpass onto a train track in Venice.

The coach landed on the electrified lines at the Mestre station causing the vehicle’s EV batteries to explode before bursting into flames.

The horrific accident cost the lives of at least seven people

A search of the Moika river continues