Bulgarian youth bus fire kills at least 45, most of them minors

Bulgaria-Namisidonia-Transport-Accident
Officials are working at the scene of a bus crash on a highway near the village of Bosnik in southern Sofia, Bulgaria, on November 23, 2021, in which at least 45 people were killed.

Demetrius Kوسsemarlio / AFP / Getty


Sofia At least 45 people, including a dozen minors, were killed in a bus fire south of the Bulgarian capital on Tuesday morning, officials said. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, but officials believe the plane caught fire and the bus hit the tracks.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred at 2:00 a.m. (0000 GMT) on a highway about 26 miles from Sofia near the village of Bosnik.

Among the victims … a total of 12 were under 18 years of age, said Steinmeier Steinev, chief of the National Police.

He told BTV television that 45 of the 52 people on board the bus were killed.

“The driver died instantly, so no one was able to open the door,” he added.

The seven survivors include a 16-year-old girl, Northern Macedonian Health Minister Venko Phillips told public BNT television. All seven – two women and five men – are from the same family, they said after examining the survivors at Sofia Hospital, where they were being treated for severe burns.

Survivors “jumped out of the windows,” said Maya Argyrova, head of the burn center, where she was taken.

Bulgaria-Namisidonia-Transport-Accident
Officials are working at the scene of a bus crash on a highway near the village of Bosnik in southern Sofia, Bulgaria, on November 23, 2021, in which at least 45 people were killed.

Demetrius Kوسsemarlio / AFP / Getty


Images show the body of a completely burnt bus, which had broken through a ditch between the two sides of the highway.

According to BTV, the bus was traveling from the central Turkish city of Istanbul to the northern Macedonian city of Skopje. Macedonian local media reported that the bus was registered with the Besa Trans Tourism Agency, which organizes tourist and shopping tours in Istanbul.

Northern Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zayev told the state news agency MIA that he had spoken to a survivor.

He explained that he was sleeping in the bus when an explosion was heard. He smashed one of the windows and managed to save a few people. Unfortunately, the rest did not succeed, “he said. ۔

“It’s a great tragedy … 12 (victims) are under the age of 18, and the rest are young people in their 20s and 30s. Most of them are our citizens, but (some) are also from Serbia.” Added

But police chief Steinev said the two bus drivers were Macedonians, but the passengers were Albanians.

“Preliminary information indicates that 52 people were traveling in the bus, two of whom were Macedonian nationals and 50 Albanian nationals,” he said.

Bulgaria’s caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanyev and Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning, while local media said the prime ministers of northern Macedonia and Albania were also on their way.

“It’s a horrible picture there. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Rashkov told reporters on the site.

“No one can say for sure how many are there and who they were. The bodies are badly burnt and have to be identified one by one,” he added.

Bulgaria has a history of fatal bus accidents. Seventeen Bulgarian tourists were killed in 2018 when their bus skidded and overturned on a wet road.

A total of 628 people were killed in road accidents in 2019 and 463 in 2020 in the country of 6.9 million people, according to official figures. Accidents are often attributed to poor road conditions, old cars and speeding.

According to Diana Rusinova, a road safety NGO who had previously complained to authorities about the incident, Tuesday’s accident occurred on a section of the highway without a gradient and clear demarcation, where many Accidents have occurred since.

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