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At least 16 dead after tourist bus crashes in Bulgaria

Police said a bus carrying tourists on a weekend trip to a nearby resort overturned and then fell down a side road 20 metres below the highway.

Bus overturned and then fell down side road 20 metres below the highway, police say

Bulgarian authorities say a tourist bus has flipped over on a highway near Sofia, the capital, killing at least 16 people and leaving 26 others injured. (Bulgarian Interior Ministry/Associated Press)

Bulgarian authorities say a tourist bus has flipped over on a highway near Sofia, the capital, killing at least 16 people and leaving 26 others injured.

Police said a bus carrying tourists on a weekend trip to a nearby resort overturned and then fell down a side road 20 metres below the highway. The accident happened at 5:10 p.m. local time Saturday about 20 kilometres north of Sofia.

Ambulances rushed to the scene and took the injured to Sofia hospitals. 

Dr. Nikolay Gabrovski said five people have life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters are seen near the scene where a bus crashed and overturned. (Bulgarian Interior Ministry/Associated Press)

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev gave an initial death toll of 15, but doctors from Sofia's emergency hospital said another bus victim died Saturday night.

The mayor of Bozhurishte, about 50 kilometres north of Sofia, told reporters that all the passengers were from his village.

Police said the bus was carrying 33 pilgrims from the village and a driver on a weekend trip to a nearby Orthodox monastery.

A 13-year-old boy is among the deceased.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called an emergency meeting Sunday with senior law enforcement officials to tighten traffic controls on the roads during the peak summer tourist season.

The government declared Monday a national day of mourning for the victims.

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