Bulgaria, N.Macedonia mourn after fatal tourist bus crash

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Bulgaria, North Mace-donia and Kosovo mourned Wednesday over one of Europe’s worst road crashes that killed 46 as harrowing testimony emerged of tourists trapped inside the burning bus.

Officials believe the tourist bus crashed into the highway rails and caught fire near Sofia early Tuesday while returning from Is-tanbul in Turkey to North Mace-donia’s Skopje.

Only seven survived, managing to break a window and jump out, according to initial accounts.

Many of the passengers were ethnic Albanians aged 20-30 and included a dozen minors with the youngest fatality four-year-old twins, according to media re-ports.

“Today is a day of mourning,” Bulgarian Interim Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said as he lead a minute of silence at the start of a government session Wednesday.

Investigators were sifting through the ashes of the burned out vehi-cle, to determine whether a tech-nical defect or human error caused the disaster. It remained unclear exactly how many people were aboard.

The survivors were hospitalised in Sofia and in stable condition, despite their injuries and bad burns, according to Maya Argi-rova, head of the Pirogov burns clinic.

Pssenger Lulzim Sulejmani re-counted how the bus hit some-thing on the right, the wheels burst and the fire spread before the bus moved left and came to a halt.—Agencies

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