Bus crash in Croatia leaves 12 dead and 32 injured among Polish pilgrims

VARAZDIN, Croatia, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Twelve people were killed in Croatia on Saturday when a Polish bus full of religious pilgrims skidded off a road and crashed near Varazdin, authorities said.

Thirty-two people were injured in the accident which happened at 5:40 a.m. (0340 GMT) on the highway between Varazdin, in northwestern Croatia, and the capital Zagreb.

Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said 19 people were in serious condition.

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Marcin Przydacz, deputy head of Poland’s foreign ministry, who was visiting the scene on Saturday, said the injured were being treated at five hospitals in Croatia.

He said there were 44 Polish pilgrims on the bus from Poland to Medjugorje, a Roman Catholic shrine in southern Bosnia, including two drivers. Among them were three priests and six nuns, a ministry spokesman said.

Police cleared the area where the accident took place after firefighters and medical teams picked up all occupants of the vehicle which had Warsaw license plates.

Polish police officers, in Croatia as part of the “Safe Tourist Destination” project, were helping the Croatian authorities to communicate with the survivors.

An investigation has been opened into the cause of the accident.

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Reporting by Antonio Bronic in Croatia, Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo and Joana Plucinska in Warsaw; Editing by Jason Neely, Mark Heinrich and Mike Harrison

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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