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19 Polish Pilgrims Die in Hungary Bus Wreck - 2002-07-01


Nineteen Polish tourists are dead and 32 others injured after a bus crashed Monday near Hungary's Lake Balaton resort, 120 kilometers southwest of Budapest.

Hungarian police said it was still dark when the bus slid off a road and overturned at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour while going through a traffic circle near Balatonszentgyorgy village, close to Lake Balaton.

There are fears the death toll could rise as dozens of people are reported to be seriously injured.

The bus, carrying 49 passengers and two drivers, was bound for Medjugorje, a shrine to the Virgin Mary in southeast Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Investigators said many of the passengers were from Stoczek, a small town near the city of Lublin in eastern Poland. Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller described the accident as "tragic news" for his mainly Catholic nation.

Hungary's interior minister, Monika Lamperth, rushed to the scene of the accident and has issued a statement expressing condolences to relatives of the victims.

The accident is expected to lead to a new debate about the poor condition of the roads around Lake Balaton, where cars often compete with horses and bicycles.

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