Twelve people have been killed and 31 injured, 18 of them seriously, after a Polish bus full of religious pilgrims slipped off a road and crashed near Varazdin in northwestern Croatia, authorities said.
Most important points:
- All victims were Polish citizens on a religious pilgrimage to southern Bosnia
- Croatian authorities say bus driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel
- Polish officials travel to Croatia to help survivors
Police, fire brigade and medical teams were deployed at the scene of the accident that happened at 5:40 am on Saturday, near Breznicki Hum towards the capital Zagreb, police said.
“We have 43 injured, 12 of whom” [are] passed away,” said Maja Grba-Bujevic, the director of the Croatian Emergency Medicare Institute.
“All the victims are Polish citizens – we can confirm this at the moment,” a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry told the Polish private broadcaster TVN24.
“The bus has Warsaw license plates.”
Croatian HRT television said the most likely cause of the accident was the driver who had fallen asleep.
The passengers were adult pilgrims on their way to Medjugorje, a Roman Catholic shrine in southern Bosnia, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters.
He said an investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.
Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Łukasz Jasina told Polish news channel TVN24 that survivors would receive support.
“Representatives from our embassy are going to the scene of the accident. The Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior are also going,” said Jasina.