The Hitrino Inferno in Bulgaria: Number of Dead Increased, Day of Mourning, Red Cross Raises Funds

Written by on December 12, 2016 in Bulgaria, Latest - No comments

A day after the train derailment in the Bulgarian village of Hitrino, which triggered a huge gas explosion, the Bulgarian Red Cross started a fund-raising campaign in order to assist survivors among the victims. By sending an SMS to the number 1466, anyone can contribute (1 Lev per SMS). The organization also provided a bank account for larger donations: 

Bank: UniCredit Bulbank Address: 3 Kaloyan Street, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria. Payment to: BRC – VICTIMS OF DISASTERS AND CRISES. IBAN: BG64UNCR76301078660913. BIC: UNCRBGSF. Other ways to donate and more details can be found on the Bulgarian Red Cross’ website (in Bulgarian).

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said, another victim was found dead, under the rubble which used to be the Hitrino railway station. The number of victims who lost their lives was therefore raised to eight. Many were injured in the accident, which now is one of the two worst in post-communist Bulgaria. Borissov also said, it might take firefighters and experts ten days to secure the area. Since the train was pulling several freight cars with gas tanks, there is still danger. Additional explosions can not be ruled out.

Bulgarian officials urged the public to stay away from Hitrino because of the danger, while gas tanks are being emptied by experts from Burgas. 

The accident had happened on Saturday morning at 05:40 a.m., when a freight train derailed, possibly because it was traveling too fast. One of the gas tanks on the freight train exploded immediately, destroying everything around the scene, including buildings. The authorities first said, four people had died. By now, the number of dead has doubled. Twenty-nine inhabitants of Hitrino were injured.

Prime Minister Borissov had traveled to the scene of the accident on Saturday morning. On Sunday he told reporters, two cranes from Romania were being sent to Hitrino, in order to move the emptied gas tanks. Borissov also stated, the homes destroyed in the explosion would be replaced, in part by the Construction Chamber. The organization offered to build three houses. Those might include the Hitrino police station, which was destroyed in the blast as well.

Today is a day of mourning in all of Bulgaria. Flags will be on half mast.

The last big train accident in Bulgaria had happened on July 12th, 2014, when a passenger train derailed in Kaloyanovets. The driver was killed, 14 people were injured. On February 28th, 2008, nine passengers burned to death, after a fire broke out in their sleeper car.

By Imanuel Marcus

In cooperation with our affiliate, The Sofia Globe.

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