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Bus plunges into ravine in North Macedonia, killing 14

  • 14 Feb 2019

The country's health minister says seven people were pronounced dead at the scene and the rest died after being taken to a hospital. He added that 30 people were also injured including six in critical condition.

A wreckage of a bus is seen at the site of of an accident, near Skopje, North Macedonia, February 13, 2019. ( Reuters )

A bus carrying workers in North Macedonia crashed into a ravine outside the capital of Skopje on Wednesday, killing 14 people and injuring about 30, officials said.

Venko Filipce, the newly renamed European nation's health minister, said seven people were pronounced dead at the scene and the rest died after being taken to a hospital. Six of those injured had life-threatening conditions.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev declared two days of national mourning.

The bus was carrying about 50 people when it veered off a highway linking Skopje with the western town of Tetovo and plunged 10 metres (30 feet) into a small ravine, landing upside down. The cause of the crash, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Skopje, wasn't yet known.

Firefighters and residents of a nearby village rushed to the scene of the crash to help pull survivors, including the driver, from the wreckage.

Witness Samet Musliu told private Telma TV that rescuers had to cut open the bus to reach the injured.

"There was a strong smell of gasoline and we were afraid the bus would explode," he said.

The bus had been carrying workers back from Skopje to the town of Gostivar, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of the capital, where most of them lived, said Gostivar Mayor Arben Taravari.

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