Two Bulgarian police died early Thursday after trying to stop a bus with 47 migrants who had entered Bulgaria illegally, according to Stanimir Stanev, a senior Interior Ministry official.
The incident occurred at 5 a.m. in the Black Sea city of Burgas after the vehicle refused to stop at two consecutive police border checkpoints, Stanev told reporters.
On the bus, which bore Turkish license plates, were 47 illegal migrants, although authorities have not released their nationalities.
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Officers pulled their vehicle in front of the bus once it entered a residential area, but the bus driver did not stop; instead, he slammed into the patrol car, crushing it with the officers inside, before crashing into a nearby bus stop.
The officers died at the scene, but no other injuries were reported. While police have opened an investigation, no charges have been filed yet. Nevertheless, the district attorney, Georgi Chinev, called the bus driver’s actions a “conscious deliberate act.”
Bulgaria lies along the Balkan route and is one of the primary routes for illegal immigration into Europe. Like many countries in the region, Bulgaria has experienced increased migration pressure this year. Hungary, for example, has already recorded over 150,000 illegal entries, marking a major increase over 2021.