Bus Crashes on Way to Sacred Shrine, Killing 12

Dozens are said to be injured after bus from Poland headed to Medjugorje crashed in Croatia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2022 9:00 AM CDT
Bus Crashes on Way to Sacred Shrine, Killing 12
Rescuers stand next to vehicles at the crash scene in Podvorec, near Zagreb, Croatia, on Saturday.   (AP Photo)

A Poland-registered bus carrying pilgrims to a shrine in Bosnia skidded from a highway in northern Croatia early Saturday, killing at least 12 people and injuring several others, police and officials said. Croatian police said on Twitter that "in the skidding of a bus with Polish license plates, according to initial information from the field, 11 people died and several were injured." Officials said one more passenger died later in a hospital and that the bus was carrying 43 people. Croatia's state HRT television reported that about 30 people were injured, many seriously. It said the most likely cause of the crash was the driver falling asleep, per the AP. The broadcaster showed video of a smashed blue bus in a ditch next to the highway.

The bus was traveling in the direction of Zagreb, Croatia's capital. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the bus was taking pilgrims to the Catholic shrine in Medjugorje, a town in southern Bosnia. The shrine is Europe's third-most popular pilgrimage destination after Lourdes and Fatima, although the Vatican hasn't verified any of the reported miracles that witnesses claimed to have seen there. "This morning, I spoke about the details of the tragedy with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who assured the full support of Croatian medical services," Morawiecki said on Facebook. "I recommended our consular services to organize a support organization for the families of accident participants."

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said the bus originated from "a place near Warsaw" and that "according to some information," it was carrying pilgrims to Medjugorje. The accident happened at 5:40am local time, some 30 miles north of Zagreb, on the A4 highway, which is busy during the peak of the tourist season. Rescue teams were sent to the location of the accident. An investigation into what caused the accident is ongoing, Croatian media reported.

(Read more Croatia stories.)

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