North Macedonia dead repatriated after Bulgaria crash

By: AFP      Published: 06:51 PM, 3 Dec, 2021
Bulgaria bus crash
North Macedonia dead repatriated after Bulgaria crash

The remains of 45 North Macedonians killed in a bus crash in neighbouring Bulgaria last month were repatriated to Skopje on Friday, after one of Europe's deadliest road accidents. 

The caskets were unloaded from two planes at Skopje international airport, where North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and leading government officials joined relatives to pay their respects to the dead.

The bus was packed with tourists from North Macedonia returning home after a trip to Turkey when it crashed on November 23. Only seven people survived.

It took more than a week to return the bodies as Bulgarian authorities painstakingly gathered DNA evidence to identify all of the victims.

Waiting outside the airport, Damir Osmanov said he lost his wife and daughter in the accident, as well as three other relatives.

"My daughter was preparing for her wedding. She was supposed to live in America," said Osmanov.

"There is no comfort for this pain," he added.   

In downtown Skopje, wreaths were laid as people came to pay their respects.

The accident was one of Europe's deadliest road accidents in a decade and the worst such incident in Bulgaria, which has a history of poor road safety.

Bulgarian prosecutors believe human error was mostly likely to blame after the bus driver crashed into guardrails. 

A detached rail was then dragged by the bus causing the sparks that set the vehicle on fire, according to investigators. 

Dozens of children were among the dead, including four-year-old twins, according to media reports.

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AFP

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