At least 10 dead and 44 injured in bus crash in Croatia after driver lost control
At least 10 people have died after a bus swerved off a highway and crashed in Croatia, police have said.
The incident, believed to have happened when the driver fell asleep early on Sunday, has left at least 44 others injured, some seriously.
It happened about 6am near the town of Slavonski Brod on the highway between the Croatian capital of Zagreb and the Serbian border, a key artery over the summer due to tourists and workers coming home from western Europe. Police said the bus had Kosovo licence plates and was travelling from Frankfurt in Germany to Kosovo’s capital of Pristina, to the south of Serbia.
Officials said the bus was carrying 67 passengers, including children, and two drivers, one of whom died in the crash. The 44 injured were transferred to local hospitals. Slavonski Brod hospital chief Josip Samardzic said eight people had serious injuries.
Authorities said the bus driver was detained after he apparently lost control of the vehicle after briefly falling asleep. “He said he fell asleep for a moment,” local deputy prosecutor Slavko Pranjic said, according to Index news site in Croatia.
Police said the bus slid off the road into the grass before flipping on its side.
The Croatian prime minister, Andrej Plenkovic, expressed “sadness and grief” and extended his condolences to the victims’ relatives and the people of Kosovo. Croatia’s president, Zoran Milanovć, also expressed condolences and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
Kosovo’s president, Vjosa Osmani, who cut short her stay in Tokyo at the Olympic Games after hearing about the crash, extended her sorrow in a message on Facebook and declared Monday a national day of mourning in Kosovo.
“With our heart and in spirit, we are close to the families who lost their loved ones in this tragedy,” Osmani said. “It is an indescribable pain and a great loss.”
Kosovo’s prime minister, Albin Kurti, said: “This is a tragic day for our country and for our people.” He arrived in Croatia later on Sunday and visited the injured in hospital with Croatia’s prime minister.
“We are here to be with our citizens,” Kurti said, according to Index. “Hundreds of citizens who live outside Kosovo, they come to Kosovo and our economy depends on this.”
Traffic on the highway was halted for hours before the bus was removed and one lane was reopened.