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Bus crashes, catches fire in Bulgaria; at least 45 dead

SOFIA, Bulgaria — A bus carrying folks dwelling to North Macedonia from a vacationer journey to (*45*) crashed and caught fire in western Bulgaria early Tuesday, killing at least 45 folks, authorities and native media mentioned.

The accident occurred round 2 a.m. and there have been kids among the many victims, authorities mentioned. Seven folks have been taken to hospitals for therapy.

The reason behind the crash was not instantly confirmed, however it appeared that the bus hit a freeway guard rail, crashed and caught fire.

The bus was one in every of 4 touring collectively. Officials mentioned an investigation can be launched.

Photos taken shortly after the crash confirmed the bus engulfed in flames with plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the scene.

Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov informed reporters at the crash web site that he had “never in my life seen something more horrifying.”

“The picture is horrifying, the people who were on the bus are turned to charcoal,” Rashkov mentioned. “It is impossible to say how many they were. There were four buses that traveled together, and it is possible that passengers changed buses during the stops.”

Bulgarian Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, who additionally visited the location of the crash, informed reporters it was “a huge tragedy.”

The bus, registered in Northern Macedonia, crashed around 2 a.m.
The bus, registered in Northern Macedonia, crashed round 2 a.m.
AP

“I take this opportunity to send my condolences to the relatives of the victims,” Yanev mentioned. “Let’s hope we learn lessons from this tragic incident and we can prevent such incidents in the future.”

Bulgarian news company Novinite mentioned representatives from North Macedonia’s embassy visited a hospital the place a few of the victims have been taken.

North Macedonia’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev, informed Bulgarian tv channel bTV that he had spoken to one of many bus survivors.

A forensic worker photographs evidence at the site of the bus crash in Bulgaria.
A forensic employee pictures proof at the location of the bus crash in Bulgaria.
AP

“One of the passengers told me that he was asleep and woke up from an explosion,” Zaev informed bTV, including that the authorities will collect info that’s “important for the families of the dead and the survivors.”

In a press release posted on-line, North Macedonia’s president, Stevo Pendarovski, referred to as it a “horrific accident” and mentioned that he expects the authorities to conduct a full investigation to find out the “causes and responsibility for the tragedy.”

In 2019, Bulgaria, an EU nation of seven million, had the second-highest highway fatality charge in the 27-nation bloc with 89 folks killed per million inhabitants, in accordance with European Commission information.

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