Update at 8:15 pm: The Chief of the Varaždin County Police Department gave a statement to RTL Television this afternoon, explaining that one of the drivers has passed away, while they’re still unable to determine who the other driver was or what his condition is. The police investigation at the scene of the crash is finished, and they’ve determined that the bus has swerved off the highway, and crashed into the ditch by the highway. He added that the police were able to talk to some of the passengers, and determined that most of them were asleep. It is also very difficult to get any specific information from them, as they’re in a state of shock or in various types of trauma.
Update at 2:03 pm: The Večernji list daily brings the reporting from the Polish website rmf.pl, including the tweet by the Polish Infrastructure Ministry, which claims that the bus was made in 2011, and that it has gone through all the necessary inspections in June this year and was found to be in good condition. The bus left Warsaw yesterday morning, and their next stop was Jasna Góra in Częstochowie, where the pilgrims participated in a eucharist. During the night, they traveled through Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. They were supposed to get to Međugorje in the early afternoon hours. The plan was for them to return to Poland next Friday.
Update at 1:43 pm: Health minister Vili Beroš confirmed the numbers: in addition to 12 casualties, there are 32 injured passengers. 19 of those are seriously injured while 13 have less serious injuries. The injured passengers are in various Croatian hospitals, from Varaždin, Čakovec, and 4 hospitals in Zagreb. There was a total of 44 people on the bus.
Update at 11:33 am: Croatian Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović, held a press conference at the site of the horrible accident, where he confirmed that additional people are fighting for their lives in various hospitals. He also added that from what the police and other rescue services were able to determine, there weren’t additional people trapped underneath the bus. He confirmed that there were no children in the bus, adding: “There are only injured people, and those who lost their lives in this crash. Nobody was left unhurt.”
Polish Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted about the tragedy, confirming the close cooperation with the Croatian authorities.
2/2 O szczegółach tragedii rozmawiałem dziś rano z premierem Chorwacji @AndrejPlenkovic, który zapewnił o pełnym wsparciu chorwackich służb medycznych. Poleciłem naszym służbom konsularnym organizację wsparcia dla rodzin uczestników wypadku.
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) August 6, 2022
Update at 10:11 am: Zagreb Clinical Hospital has reported that another one of the injured passengers was declared dead after unsuccessful reanimation. The Polish Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the staff from the Polish embassy in Zagreb reportedly confirmed that the bus was on its way to Međugorje.
According to the first information by the Croatian media, 11 people have died, and the number of travellers injured is greater and yet unconfirmed. The accident occurred on the 62nd kilometer of the highway between Jarek Bisaški and Podvorec, in direction of Zagreb.
“So far we know that 11 people died, while the other injured were transported to hospitals in Zagreb and Varaždin. The intervention has been completed, on the ground, there are more firefighters on duty,” county fire chief Željko Nagy told Večernji list. As for the injured, Nagy said that they were taken over by an ambulance and that he did not know the severity of those injuries. He said that everyone was pulled out of the bus, and that the cause of the accident was not yet known.
The Police Department of Varaždin briefly announced that, in addition to police officers from the Varaždin and Zagreb police departments, several ambulance and firefighting teams from both counties were engaged at the scene of the accident.
Traffic on the A4 highway in the direction of Zagreb flows very slowly this morning, in one lane with the regulation of police officers.
We will update this tragic story as more details become available.