12 pilgrims dead after Croatia bus crash


GETTY IMAGES, The bus ended up in a ditch by the roadside

By Elsa Maishman, Aug. 6: Twelve people have been killed after a bus carrying Polish pilgrims veered off a road in Croatia on Saturday.

All 31 surviving passengers are injured, with some fighting for their lives in hospital, officials said.

The trip, organised by the Brotherhood of St Joseph Catholic group, included three priests and six nuns. They were travelling to Medjugorje, a Catholic shrine in Bosnia.

The passengers were all Polish adults, the Polish Foreign Ministry said.

The bus they were travelling in veered off the A4 road between Jarek Bisaski and Podvorec, northeast of Zagreb, and the vehicle ended up in a roadside ditch.

The accident happened at around 05:40 local time (04:50 GMT).

Poland's justice minister and prosecutor general ordered the Warsaw Prosecutors Office to launch an investigation into the cause of the crash.

It was initially reported that 11 people had been killed, but one more person died later in hospital, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said.

"Some of the injured passengers are fighting for their lives," Bozinovic told reporters.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said the driver is not thought to be among the fatalities, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, adding in a post on Twitter that emergency services were doing all they could to help.

Two Polish ministers are travelling to Croatia in the wake of the incident, local media reported.

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