Twelve people have been killed and 31 injured — 18 of them seriously — after a Polish bus filled with religious pilgrims slipped off a road and crashed near Varazdin in northwestern Croatia, authorities said.
The police, firefighters and medical teams were sent to the site of the accident, which occurred on Saturday at 5: 40 am, near Breznicki Hum in the direction of the capital, Zagreb, the police said.
There are 43 injured people, of which 12 are dead, said Maja Grba-Bujevic, director of the Croatian Emergency Medicare Institute.
All the victims are Polish citizens and we can confirm this at this point," a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman told Polish private broadcaster TVN 24.
Croatia s state HRT television said the driver fell asleep and was the most likely cause of the crash.
The passengers were adult pilgrims who were traveling to Medjugorje, a Roman Catholic shrine in southern Bosnia, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters.
He said there was an investigation into the cause of the accident.
A spokesman for Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ukasz Jasina, told Polish news channel TVN 24 that survivors would receive support.
Representatives of our embassy are going to the scene of the accident. Jasina said that the Croatian deputy prime minister and the minister of internal affairs are also going to be there.