Among the deceased there are twelve children and only seven people could be rescued
At least 45 people, including 12 children, died in the early hours of Tuesday in Bulgaria in an accident involving a bus that caught fire and from which its passengers could not escape.
The first information indicated that the victims were originally from North Macedonia, where the bus was registered, but the police indicated that only its two drivers were and the rest were “all Albanians.”
“The only thing that is clear is that the bus had Macedonian license plates,” said Bulgaria’s Acting Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, who went to the scene and refused to give details about the nationality of the victims.
Twelve minors, including five children, were on board the vehicle that covered the journey from Istanbul to Skopje, the Macedonian capital. All died in the accident.
The event occurred around two in the morning (Spanish time) on a highway near the municipality of Bosnek, 40 km south of Sofia, said Commissioner Nikolay Nikolov, head of the disaster fighting service, on BNT public television.
“Seven passengers could be rescued” and evacuated to a hospital in the capital, he added. It involves two women and five men.
“The driver was killed by the blow, so there was no one who could open the doors” and allow the passengers to escape the flames, explained the head of the national police Stanimir Stanev in another station.
The coach collided with the security guardrail for an unknown reason for now. The highway had recently been renovated thanks to funds from the European Union, of which Bulgaria has been a part since 2007.
«The survivors are traumatized, they have lost relatives, their children. They jumped out of the windows, ”said Maya Arguirova, head of the treatment center for major burns where they were transferred.
“It is a tragedy”, reacted the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, questioned by the Bulgarian media. “Teams will travel to the scene to participate in the rescue,” he added.
The last serious coach incident in Bulgaria dates back to August 2018, with 17 deaths. Then the bus crashed in torrential rain as it was returning a group of Bulgarian tourists to Sofia after visiting a monastery.
Bulgaria, of 6.9 million inhabitants, registered 627 fatalities on the roads in 2019 and 463 in 2020, a figure lower than usual due to health restrictions that limited travel.
This is one of the worst statistics in the European Union, fueled by the poor condition of the roads, the old age of the car fleet and frequent speeding.
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