At least 45 people killed in a Bus crash in Bulgaria

At least 45 people, including 12 children, died in an overnight bus accident on a highway in western Bulgaria in early Tuesday morning, according to local officials.

The vehicle crashed in flames at about 2 am local time while travelling along a highway 45km (26 miles) from the capital, Sofia.

The cause of Tuesday’s accident was yet to be determined. Bulgarian officials, however, described how the bus swerved off the motorway and tore away a 50m (164ft) section of the crash barrier, but it was unclear if that was before or after it caught fire.

The bus was registered in North Macedonia and was carrying North Macedonians home from a weekend tourist trip to Istanbul where it crashed and caught fire.

Seven people managed to escape from the bus through the window and save themselves were immediately taken to hospital in the capital Sofia with burns - Bulgarian interior ministry senior official Nikolai Nikolov told.

"At least 45 people were killed after a bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire," Mr Nikolov said. His ministry later updated the toll to 46. There had been 53 people on board.

Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov told Reuters, "People are clustered inside and are burnt to ash."The picture is terrifying, terrifying. I have never seen anything like that before." "We have an enormous tragedy here," Bulgarian interim Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said he had spoken to one of the survivors, who told him that passengers were asleep when the sound of an explosion woke them.

"He and the other six survivors broke the windows of the bus and managed to escape and save themselves," Mr Zaev told reporters.

The victims have not yet been officially named, but officials said they included 12 children, and many young people aged between 20 and 30.

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