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Twelve Polish Catholic pilgrims killed and 31 injured in bus accident in Croatia

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At least twelve Polish Catholic worshippers have been killed and 31 others injured in a serious bus accident this Saturday morning near Croatia’s capital, Zagreb.

Emergency sources have indicated to public broadcaster HRT that the bus, arriving from Poland across the Hungarian border, went off the road 60 kilometers northwest of the city.

According to initial investigations, the driver of the vehicle appeared to have fallen asleep at the wheel while driving at 5:40 a.m. in the Podvorec municipality.

Some 18 affected persons are seriously injured. “All the victims are Polish citizens. We can confirm this at the moment. The bus has Warsaw license plates,” a Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman told TVN24.

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The trip was bound for Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a shrine where in 1981 the Virgin Mary appeared, as recognized by the Catholic Church. It is the third most visited shrine in Europe after Lourdes and Fatima.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki commented on the “tragic” accident via his Twitter account. “I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” he said. In addition, Morawiecki has reported that he has been in telephone contact with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

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