Twelve people were killed and 31 injured, 18 of them seriously, in a crash of the bus with Polish licence plates that slipped off a road in northwestern Croatia early on Saturday, police said.
“All victims are Polish citizens… We are working on the ground to provide all the injured and the families of the victims with assistance on the spot,” Łukasz Jasina, spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.
The bus with a few dozen pilgrims was heading to the Catholic pilgrimage site Međugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Police, firefighters and medical teams were deployed to the site of the accident which occurred at 5:40 a.m. near Breznicki Hum in the direction of the capital Zagreb, police reported.
The section of road near the scene has been closed to traffic to allow for the rescue of the passengers.
Those injured have been taken to hospitals in Zagreb and Varaždin , Total Croatia News reported, citing the local fire brigade.
Polish top officials express their condolences
Polish President Andrzej Duda expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. “In cooperation with Croatian emergency services and authorities, we are taking all possible measures to help our compatriots,” he wrote on social media.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau also referred to the accident on social media. “My deep condolences to the families of the victims of the bus accident in Croatia. I spoke to the Foreign Minister of Croatia about the situation and thanked the Croatian state services and the public for their assistance,” he wrote.
Polish Health Minister to visit accident site
“On my instructions, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski, Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz, as well as medics and psychologists are going to the site of the accident,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, following the tragic news.