At least 45 people died in Bulgaria in an accident in which a bus of tourists from North Macedonia caught fire. The crash occurred at two in the morning on the highway near Bosnek, 40 kilometers south of Sofia. Seven passengers were saved by jumping out of the windows of the burning vehicle and were taken to hospital with various burns. On board were 53 people including 12 children and several of them are among the victims.
Even 12 children
The bus had departed from Istanbul, Turkey, and headed for Skopje, North Macedonia, to repatriate a group of tourists who had spent the weekend in the city on the Bosphorus. The Struma highway was closed after the accident. “The bodies were completely charred,” said Bulgarian Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov, who visited the disaster site where he was joined by the interim prime minister, Stefan Yanev.
According to local media, the premieres of North Macedonia and Albania are also on their way to the scene of the accident. According to initial reports, the messenger, traveling between Istanbul and Skopje, would have caught fire after hitting the guard rail. The bus has a North Macedonian license plate, but the nationality of the victims is not yet clear. Bulgarian police chief Stanev said that apart from the two North Macedonian drivers, the passengers would be Albanians, while the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, said he believed they were North Macedons, albeit ethnic Albanians.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, expressed their condolences for the tragic accident. “My deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the tragic bus accident last night in Bulgaria. I also wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. In these terrible times, Europe stands in solidarity with you”, tweeted von der Leyen. “The EU is ready to provide support in any way possible”, assured Michel.