Neighbors in the Balkans mourn the victims of Bulgaria’s bus fire

Bulgaria and North Macedonia have begun a national mourning period to commemorate the victims of the bus accident that killed 45 people and injured 6 people

The bus carrying 52 people is one of the bus fleet returning from Turkey. Although the exact cause of the accident has not yet been determined, the bus apparently broke through the barrier on the highway, was quickly engulfed by flames and burned completely. There were more than a dozen children among the dead.

Bulgaria held a national day of mourning on Wednesday, while North Macedonia began a three-day mourning.The national flags of all national institutions are lowered at half mast, and entertainment activities are cancelled

Seven survivors were hospitalized in the main emergency hospital in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, with severe burns and physical injuries.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Buhar Osmani visited the hospital on Wednesday and told reporters that he met patients there and facilitated communication between his family and Bulgarian institutions.

Forensic doctors from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, are also expected to conduct DNA tests with their Bulgarian colleagues in Sofia to determine the bodies of those killed in the crash.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Boiko Rashkov told reporters at the crash site on Tuesday that he had never “seen more terrible things” and the identification process would take time. “The people on the bus are turned into charcoal,” Lashkov said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, five North Macedonian citizens, one Serb and one Belgian were among the survivors.

Albanian Foreign Minister Horta Shaka said that almost all the dead were Albanians, but it was not clear whether they were also citizens of North Macedonia.

On Wednesday, a truck towed away the burnt-out bus shell, and the police escorted it on the outskirts of Sofia.

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