45 killed as bus catches fire in Bulgaria

24 November 2021

Al Jazeera :
At least 45 people, including 12 children, have died in an overnight bus accident on a highway in western Bulgaria, according to local officials.
The cause of Tuesday's accident, which saw the vehicle crash in flames at about 2am local time while travelling along a highway 45 km (26 miles) from the capital, Sofia, was yet to be determined.
Bulgaria's interior ministry put the death toll at 45 people, making it the most deadly accident of its kind in the Balkan country's history.
North Macedonia's chief prosecutor, Lubomir Jovevski, who visited the site of the accident near the village of Bosnek, said that 12 children were among the dead.
The bus, which was heading from Turkey to North Macedonia, appeared to have hit a highway barrier either before or after it caught fire, according to officials.
Seven people who leapt from the burning vehicle were rushed to hospital in Sofia and were in stable conditions, hospital staff said.
Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov, who visited the crash site, said the bodies of those who died in the incident were "clustered inside [the bus] and are burned to ash."    "The picture is terrifying, terrifying. I have never seen anything like that before," he told reporters.
Bulgarian investigative service chief Borislav Sarafov said four buses from a North Macedonian travel agency had entered Bulgaria late on Monday from Turkey. The vehicles were travelling together.
"Human mistake by the driver or a technical malfunction are the two initial versions for the accident," he said.
Television footage showed the bus, charred and gutted by fire, in the middle of the highway, which was wet from the rain.
"We have an enormous tragedy here," Bulgarian interim Prime Minister

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