Two days of mourning were declared in the Republic of North Macedonia following the traffic accident that happened on Wednesday (February 13, 1919) on the E-65 motorway linking Skopje and Gostivar. Fourteen people were killed and 39 injured. At 17 o’clock, the bus from the company “Durmoturs” with more than 50 passengers passed 3 lnes, flew off the highway and turned over near the old road. The bus was transporting mainly passengers who were employed in Skopje and returning to Gostivar.

The relevant institutions have identified 14 of the victims. The investigation at the scene of the accident has been completed and the bus was taken for forensic investigation. Five of the injured are in a critical condition in hospital.

The causes of the tragedy are still unknown

The driver received minor injuries and was released to recover at home.  According to tests commissioned by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, he did not have any alcohol or other psychotropic substances in his blood and urine. Investigations are still ongoing as to whether the driver was тalking on his mobile phone at the time of the tragedy.

“Immediately after the accident, the Public Prosecutor had the initial interview with him, and he did not provide relevant information for the entire event,” the Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

From the findings so far, it was established that the bus was purchased in 2001, and was last registered in January, 2019. The Bureau of Forensic Expertise is also expected to submit its findings and opinion.

“Durmo Tours” are expected to provide the complete documentation of its permits for public transport, maintenance of vehicles, number of passengers and sold tickets on the bus, as well as data on the working hours and the mileage driven on the critical day.

After the accident, the Government declared a two-day period of national mourning at an extraordinary session. Commemorative services were held by the municipalities of Gostivar and Vrapciste, where most of the victims lived, in the presence of the state leadership and government as well as party delegations.

The bus accident is the fifth in regard to the number of victims in Macedonia’s recent history.

Five complaints for hate speech connected with the accident

A disturbing feature, following the tragic accident was five reports of hate speech on social networks in regard to the tragic car accident The Interior Ministry has initiated five procedures for hate speech on social networks in connection with the tragic car accident and is working to identify other profiles on social networks where hate speech is being spread, said Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski.