Bus accident in Croatia leaves 12 Polish pilgrims dead and 32 injured

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

Thirty-two people were injured in the accident that occurred at 5:40 am (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 the Polish Foreign Ministry, who was traveling to the scene on Saturday, said the injured were being treated at five Croatian hospitals.

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

Police cleared the area where the accident occurred after firefighters and medical teams recovered all the occupants of the vehicle with Warsaw license plates.

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

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

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

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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