Nearly 45 passengers were killed when a North Macedonian registered bus went up in flames on a motorway in western Bulgaria on Tuesday. The chief of the interior ministry's fire safety division Nikolai Nikolov told BTV that in the tragic accident seven individuals with severe burn injuries were carried to a hospital in the nation's capital, Sofia.
“At least 45 people were killed after a bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire,” Nikolai Nikolov was quoted as saying by The Guardian. At approximately 2 am, the bus accident had occurred near the settlement of Bosnek, officials informed. The bus was reportedly carrying 53 passengers and 12 children were among the victims of the tragic accident.
According to a Sofia emergency hospital employee, the seven persons who are currently under treatment had leapt out of the flaming bus. The employee further informed that all of the injured victims appeared to be in good health now, DW reported.
A majority of the casualties were from North Macedonia, according to a representative from the North Macedonian embassy in Sofia. The bus was travelling from Turkey to North Macedonia, BBC reported.
The cause of the collision and the reason for the sudden fire is being thoroughly examined, officials informed. Citing local media, BBC reported that the bus may have collided with a curb or a side railing of the motorways. Bulgarian Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov claimed that the victims' bodies were totally charred when he arrived at the site, BTV reported.
Moreover, Interim Bulgarian Prime Minister Stefan Yanev had even raced to the disaster site to examine the situation. Further, Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev also contacted his Bulgarian counterpart Yanev to address the issue. According to the North Macedonia Prime Minister, the victims were most likely Macedonians.
Speaking to Nova TV, PM Zaev said, “We don't know if all the victims are from North Macedonia, but we assume so because the bus is registered in the country.”