The Slovak government declared Friday, Nov. 15, a day of national mourning over the Wednesday crash of a truck and a bus in which 12 people died near Nitra in south Slovakia.
The accident involved an overloaded truck with stones and a school bus traveling in the opposite direction.
Among the 12 victims included five minors, three girls and two boys aged 15 to 17.
On Thursday, the Slovak government called a special meeting due to the tragic incident. Slovak MPs then declared Nov. 15 to be a day of mourning. Tributes to the victims of the accident will be paid from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“With flags lowered at half-mast, we will silently remember everyone who passed away so suddenly,” said Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. “I believe that Slovakia should share the grief with the families of the victims and honor the memory of those who did not return home after the tragic accident.”
So far, Slovakia declared a day of mourning nine times, most recently in 2016, when the first Slovak president, Michal Kováč, died. In 2009, a day of mourning was declared after a tragic bus crash near Polomka, Slovakia, which killed 12 people.
The police investigator has already initiated prosecution based on general endangerment offense.
“Investigators will conduct an inspection of the site of the accident and interrogate the witnesses of the tragedy,” stated the Slovak police.
The tragic incident also prompted statements from leaders in neighboring countries. For example, Czech President Miloš Zeman along with Prime Minister Babiš sent a condolence letter to Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, saying, “Let me express my deepest condolences on my behalf and the behalf of the Czech people. We are with you at this sad moment.”