12 Polish pilgrims were killed and 32 injured in a bus accident in Croatia

VARAZDIN, Croatia (Reuters) – 12 people were killed on Saturday when a Polish bus full of pilgrims skidded off a road and crashed near Varaždin, Croatian authorities said.

32 people were injured in the accident, which occurred at 5:40 a.m. (0340 GMT) on the highway between Varazdin in northwest Croatia and the capital Zagreb.

Croatian Health Minister Vili Beros said 19 people were in a serious condition.

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Marcin Przydać, deputy head of the Polish Foreign Ministry, who was heading to the site on Saturday, said the wounded were receiving treatment at five hospitals in Croatia.

He said there were 44 Polish pilgrims on the bus bound from Poland to Medjugorje, a Roman Catholic shrine in southern Bosnia, including two drivers. A ministry spokesman said they included three priests and six nuns.

Police cleared the area where the accident occurred after firefighters and medical teams found all the occupants of the car, which had Warsaw license plates.

Polish police officers, in Croatia, as part of the “Safe Tourist Destination” project, assisted the Croatian authorities in communicating with survivors.

An investigation has begun into the cause of the accident.

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Additional reporting by Antonio Pronik in Croatia, Daria Cito Socic in Sarajevo and Joanna Plosinska in Warsaw; Editing by Jason Neely, Mark Heinrich and Mike Harrison

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Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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