A bus crash in western Bulgaria has killed at least 46 people, including 12 children, after the vehicle caught fire on a motorway near the village of Bosnek, officials said.
Seven people with burns have been rushed to a hospital in the capital city Sofia.
Among those killed are children and residents of North Macedonia, officials confirmed. A total of 53 passengers were aboard the bus on the Struma highway about 45 kilometres (25 miles) west of Sofia when it crashed in flames.
The seven people who are receiving treatment for their burn injuries had jumped out of the burning bus, officials from Sofia Emergency Hospital said, adding that all seven people are in a stable condition.
The cause of the incident is not clear, officials said, nor is it clear whether the fire started before or after the crash.
“At least 45 people were killed after a bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire,” Nikolai Nikolov, head of the fire safety department at Bulgaria’s interior ministry said. His department later raised the death toll to 46.
The accident took place around 2am local time, said Mr Nikolov.
Interim prime minister Stefan Yanev has rushed to the site of the accident, which has been sealed off by the authorities.
The coach party was returning to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, after a weekend holiday trip to Istanbul, North Macedonian foreign minister Bujar Osmani said.