About 12 kids perished in a bus that caught fire in Bulgaria on Tuesday, Nov. 23. They said the bus was traveling along the Struma motorway on its way to Istanbul before it crashed.

Among the identified casualties were a pair of four-year-old twins named Luan Ahmeti and Alban Ahmeti. Their parents, Avni and Jihan Ahmeti also perished – all of them originating from Albania, BBC reported.

Other casualties include Gazmend Ukali and fiancee Albina Belluli. Both were returning from Istanbul after celebrating the former’s birthday in the historic city.

"At least 45 people were killed after a bus caught fire and crashed, or crashed and then caught fire," Nikolai Nikolov, the head of the fire safety department at the interior ministry, said to BTV television.

Per reports, the bus caught fire after it hit a guardrail. This, however, has yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Most of the victims were aged between 25 and 30. 12 of them were children. The oldest casualty was aged 63-years-old.

There were only seven who survived the crash according to the Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. The youngest survivor was 15-years-old.

The seven survivors managed to escape when they broke one of the bus windows, Zaev told reporters.

The survivors of the bus crash were then brought to the Pirogov Hospital in Sofia. Zaev planned to visit the survivors later that day.

Most of the survivors brought to the hospital suffered burns to their faces and hands. Some also suffered damage in their upper airways according to Professor Maja Argirova, the head of the burns clinic.

"People are in severe trauma, they have lost relatives, children. They jumped from the windows of the bus, so they got injured," Argirova stated.

According to the mayor of Pernik, Stanislav Vladimirov, one potential reason behind the crash is the bus driver falling asleep. However, he believes there could also be other undetermined reasons.

"It has been raining since yesterday, and this section is one of the most difficult in our country," he stated.

An investigation into the bus crash is ongoing and other bodies from the accident are still being identified.

Officials work at the site of a bus accident, in which at least 46 people were killed
Officials work at the site of a bus accident, in which at least 46 people were killed, on a highway near the village of Bosnek, south of Sofia, on November 23, 2021. Getty Images | NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP

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