PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Romania is sending planes to bring home survivors of a bus crash that killed 18 Romanian tourists in central Montenegro.
A military aircraft arrived in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica on Monday, where 28 injured passengers were hospitalized. Two more, medically equipped planes will be sent on Tuesday, and transport of the injured will be organized depending on their condition, said health ministry official Raed Arafat.
The bus fell from a bridge over the Moraca river during a rainstorm and crashed some 40 meters (130 feet) into a ravine on Sunday. It was not immediately clear what caused the driver to lose control.
Police initially said Sunday that 13 people were killed, but the number of fatalities grew to 18 overnight. Forensic pathologist Miodrag Soc told the AP that the victims will be identified by their families.
“Unfortunately, we lost 18 people and that is a huge tragedy for Romania,” the health ministry official Arafat said, speaking in Podgorica.
Romanian President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta sent their condolences to the victims. The country’s foreign minister is expected in Montenegro later on Monday.
Altogether 29 people were injured, including a child who was on the bridge at the time of the crash, officials said. They said four people remain in critical condition.
Montenegrin police said the twisted wreckage of the bus most likely will be pulled out of the ravine later on Monday.
The winding road that leads from Serbia in the north through the Moraca canyon and then to the sea coast is notorious for traffic accidents because it is narrow, and slippery in wet weather.
Alison Mutler contributed from Romania; Dusan Stojanovic and Jovana Gec from Serbia.