The Bulgarian government is granting 375 leva (about 191 euro) one-off aid each from the social assistance fund to the relatives of the 17 victims of the August 25 bus crash near Svoge, Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov said on August 29.
The sum is the maximum allowable by Bulgarian law. Petkov said that the relatives of the victims would not have to wait for the payout, and that officials would visit them at their homes to assist with completing the paperwork.
In the crash, the worst bus accident in Bulgaria in nine years, 17 people died and 21 were seriously injured when a charter bus lost control on a curve, collided with three cars and then left the road, plunging 20 metres down to a clearing.
As of August 29, three of the women injured in the Svoge crash were still in critical condition, staff at Sofia’s Pirogov emergency hospital said. Three other women who are in Pirogov are to be operated on on August 29 and 30.
A blood donation drive has been organised for those injured in the crash. Blood may be donated at First City Hospital in Sofia and at the University Hospital in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas.
On August 29 at 5pm, residents of Svoge are to protest at the place where the crash occured. They plan to block that stretch of road, to highlight their grievances about the inadequate condition of the road, which they blame for the many accidents that have happened there.
The driver of the bus and co-owner of the bus transport firm, Grigor Grigorov, was ordered into 72-hour custody on August 26, facing charges including causing the 17 deaths through negligence. Grigorov was due in Sofia District Court on August 29 for the court to decide whether he should remain in custody.
Prosecutors allege that Grigorov was driving at 53km/h in a 40km/h zone at the time of the crash.
Grigorov alone faces charges in connection with the crash. On Monday and Tuesday, investigators visited the offices of Trace Group Hold and Mega-Invest Hold, companies that reports said were involved in the repair of the road. Both deny culpability.
The crash became a political football on August 28 when the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party said that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government should resign because of it. Borissov’s GERB party hit back at the BSP for politicising the tragedy and said that the road project had been awarded at a time that the BSP was in government.
Earlier, Sofia Municipality said that at the proposal of mayor Yordanka Fandukova, it would pay for the funerals of the 17 victims, all of whom had been residents of the municipality.
(Photo: Interior Ministry press centre)