Investigators say the fatal bus crash in Bulgaria was most likely caused by “human error”.
At least 44 people were killed when the vehicle caught fire after hitting a crash barrier on a wet highway near Sofia on Tuesday. It is considered one of the deadliest accidents of this type in Europe for a decade.
Most of the victims were tourists from North Macedonia, returning home in a bus convoy from Turkey.
Authorities initially put the death toll at 45, but said Thursday only “44 bodies” were found at the scene.
An initial report said 52 people were on the bus, while seven survived the crash and fire. Investigators are investigating whether any of the alleged victims had moved on another bus during a break during the trip.
Deputy Attorney General Borislav Sarafov said on Thursday that investigators believed the crash could have been made worse by traffic.
“The most likely hypothesis is that of human error,” Sarafov told reporters, adding that authorities did not rule out that “bad signage” could have misled the driver.
The Prosecutor General of Bulgaria has also requested a national inspection of road markings and signals on highways and main roads.
Passengers were trapped inside the vehicle after it caught fire and died “mainly from suffocation,” Sarafov added Thursday.
Those who survived after escaping through a broken window have all been hospitalized in Sofia and are believed to be in stable condition.