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September 24, 2017

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Bus crash in Croatia kills 8 people, injures at least 44

ZAGREB, Croatia--A Czech bus carrying more than 50 passengers crashed near a tunnel in Croatia early Saturday, killing eight people and injuring at least 44, the national rescue services said.

The accident occurred around 4:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) on the road to the Adriatic city of Split, a popular tourist destination.

"A bus with Czech license plates drove through a safety barrier and turned over" near a tunnel in Sveti Rok, some 230 kilometers (140 miles) south of Zagreb, the National Protection and Rescue Directorate said.

The bodies of seven victims were found immediately while an eighth was pulled out of the wreckage later, local media reported.

The Czech ambassador to Croatia, Karel Kuhnl, was quoted by Jutarnji list newspaper as saying that the driver was killed in the accident, while his assistant was injured and hospitalized.

The injured were taken to a hospital in nearby Gospic, while three victims with serious injuries, a woman and two children, were transferred by military helicopter to the capital Zagreb, rescuers said.

Zagreb hospital manager Tomislav Luetic told national radio that "a 12-year-old girl suffered severe injuries. She is unconscious and in intensive care. Another girl, 13 years old, suffered a complicated shank fracture."

In Prague, Czech foreign ministry spokesman Karel Srol was quoted by CTK agency as saying that the lives of two injured passengers were in danger.

A Gospic hospital surgeon, Goran Nola, said a dozen others were seriously injured, adding that the passengers ranged from children to the elderly.

The bus belonged to a travel agency from the southern Czech town of Brno, Srol said.

A spokesman for the travel agency, Martin Vasulin, said all passengers on the bus, which was heading toward the Croatian coastal resort Basko Polje, were Czech nationals, mostly from in and around Brno but also from Prague.

Local media said the bus hit the barrier, turned over and smashed into a concrete fence opposite.

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