AT LEAST 46 people – including children – have been killed after a blaze broke out on a bus in Bulgaria.
The tragedy struck on a motorway at 2am local time near the village of Bosnek, southwest of the capital Sofia.
Bulgaria’s ministry official Nikolai Nikolov confirmed that 12 children were among the victims of the horror bus blaze.
He said that either the “bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire” while on the Struma highway in western Bulgaria.
Footage showed the burnt-out bus surrounded by firefighters and emergency crews who had rushed to the scene which was sealed off.
The cause of the tragic crash and fire is still being investigated – but local reports say it may have hit a curb or a guardrail.
Seven people have been taken to hospital with burns after jumping from the burning bus – and 46 people have died following the tragedy.
There were 53 people on board the bus, officials said.
North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said the coach party was returning to the capital Skopje from a weekend holiday trip to the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Their Prime Minister called the fatal blaze a “huge tragedy.”
Representatives from Macedonia’s embassy visited the hospital where some of the victims were taken.
A hospital official said the survivors receiving treatment were all in stable conditions.
But the horrific scenes from the site of the fire were described by Bulgarian Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov, who said the victims’ bodies were “completely burnt out.”
He added: “It’s a terrifying picture in there. I haven’t seen anything like that before.
BUS BLAZE HORROR
Bulgaria’s national police chief Stanimir Stanev said: “Of the victims … 12 in total were under the age of 18.
“Initial information shows that 52 people were travelling in the bus, including two drivers with Macedonian nationality and 50 passengers with Albanian nationality.”
Bulgarian investigative service chief Borislav Sarafov said either there had been a “human error by the driver or a technical malfunction”.
The nation’s interim PM Stefan Yanev said: “I take this opportunity to send my condolences to the relatives of the victims.
“Let’s hope we learn lessons from this tragic incident and we can prevent such incidents in the future.”
More to follow…
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