At least 45 people were killed in a bus crash in western Bulgaria early on Tuesday morning, local authorities announced, making it one of the worst road accidents in the European Union in the past decade.
The crashed bus was registered in North Macedonia and was primarily carrying tourists from that country, according to various news reports.
Authorities said the crash took place at around 2 am local time on Tuesday and 12 children were among the victims, Bulgarian news agency Novinite reported.
The cause of the crash remains unclear but television footage of the crash showed that the bus had been completely gutted by a fire.
Seven people, who managed to leap out of the bus as it got engulfed in flames, were taken to local hospitals for treatment and are now in a stable condition, authorities added.
Representatives from the Macedonian embassy visited a hospital where some of the victims are being treated, the Associated Press reported, citing Novinite.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Stefan Yanev spoke to reporters after visiting the site of the accident, where he said: “This is a tragedy that shook us…I express my condolences and condolences to the relatives of the victims. Let’s hope that we will learn the right lessons from this tragic incident and we will be able to prevent such incidents in the future”
Tuesday’s tragedy is one of the worst road accidents that both Bulgaria and the European union has seen in the past decade. In 2018, another tourist bus carrying 33 passengers crashed near Bulgaria’s capital Sofia killing 16 people and injuring 26 others. In 2015, at least 43 people were killed when a bus members of a pensioner’s club collided with a lorry in southwestern France.
Bus crash in Bulgaria kills at least 45 people (Associated Press)