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Bus crashes, catches fire in Bulgaria; at least 45 dead

Bulgaria Bus Crash
Posted at 11:02 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 14:02:21-05

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Authorities say a bus carrying tourists back to North Macedonia crashed and caught fire in western Bulgaria, killing at least 45 people, including a dozen children.

According to the Associated Press, the age of the children has not been released.

The bus apparently ripped through a guardrail on a highway early Tuesday, though authorities say the cause is still under investigation.

Photos taken shortly after the crash showed the vehicle engulfed in flames as plumes of thick, black smoke rose.

Daylight revealed a burned-out shell with all of its windows blown out.

Seven survivors were taken to hospitals out of the 52 people reported to be on the bus at the time.

The crash happened as a group of buses was returning from a trip to Turkey.

The North Macedonia Foreign Ministry told the news outlet that five North Macedonia citizens, one Serb and one Belgian, were survivors.

The North Macedonia government said the country would mourn for three days, flags would be lowered to half-staff, and they've canceled all public events, the news outlet reported.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.