Bulgaria: 46 people including children killed in bus crash

Bulgaria:  46 people, including 12 children, killed as a bus crashed and caught fire.

The accident occurred on a motorway south-west of the capital Sofia at about 02:00 local time (00:00 GMT). The bus was registered in North Macedonia and was mainly carrying tourists, who were returning from a trip to Istanbul in Turkey. Seven people escaped from the bus and were taken to hospital with burns.

Speaking at the accident site, Bulgarian Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov said the victims had been badly burned, describing it as a “terrifying scene”.

The cause of the disaster was not immediately clear. Bulgarian officials say the bus swerved off the motorway and tore away a 50m (164ft) section of the crash barrier, but it was unclear if that was before or after it caught fire. Pictures of the aftermath showed a section of the road where the barrier had been shorn off. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

The mayor of the nearby village of Pernik told local media that the motorway was in poor condition on that section and there were often accidents in the area. Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani told reporters the coach party had been returning to the capital Skopje from a weekend holiday trip to the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Bulgarian media reports say the vehicle, which had been travelling as part of a convoy of buses, had stopped off at a petrol station near Sofia about an hour before the accident.

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