At least 45 people have died in a bus crash in Bulgaria early on Tuesday, officials said.
The head of the country’s disaster control service, Nikolay Nikolov, said “45 or 46 people died” in the accident, which happened around 2 am on a motorway 40 kilometres south of the capital Sofia.
“Seven passengers were rescued” and evacuated to a hospital in the capital, Nikolov said. They were two women and five men.
Five children were among those who died in the crash.
“The survivors are traumatised, they have lost relatives, children. They jumped out of windows,” said Maya Arguirova, head of the burns treatment centre where they were transported.
The bus, which was registered in North Macedonia and was travelling from Istanbul to Skopje, burst into flames after crashing.
The cause of the accident could not be determined at this stage.
“The only thing that is clear is that the bus had Macedonian number plates,” said acting Bulgarian Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, who visited the scene and refused to give details of the nationality of the victims.
“This is a tragedy. We don’t know if all the victims are from North Macedonia, but we assume so because the bus is registered in the country,” Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev said in an interview with Nova TV.
Bulgarian news agency Novinite reported representatives from North Macedonia’s embassy visited a hospital where some of the victims were taken.