A police officer surveys the wreckage of a bus that crashed into a ravine near Hriňová on September 2, killing four.
IT WAS a tragic first week of September on the roads for Slovakia, with three fatal bus crashes.
On the evening of September 2, a bus driving folk musicians from a festival at the Poľana Hotel back to the town of Hriňová drove off the narrow road into a ravine about 15 metres deep.
Four people died and 34 were injured, including the driver, the TASR newswire wrote. There were 42 people on the bus.
According to the witnesses and examinations conducted so far, faulty brakes might have been behind the accident.
"It is a huge tragedy for the town because most people on the bus were from Hriňová," Stanislav Horník from the Hriňová town office told TASR.
Two victims were from Hriňová, a 57-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man. The remaining victims were from Detva, a 34-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman.
The driver selected a shorter but more demanding route to return to Hriňová, the Sme daily wrote. People knew him to be a good driver who knew the road.
However, there are some doubts about the condition of the bus, a 14-year-old Karosa.
Technical malfunction is one of the rarest causes of bus collisions. In 2005 and 2006, buses caused 1,320 crashes and technical problems were only behind two of them.
The same night as the Hriňová crash, two Slovaks and a Polish driver died during a bus crash in Romania close to the town of Giurgiu.
The bus, registered in Poland, was taking 33 Slovak tourists to Bulgaria for a holiday. After the crash, 11 Slovak tourists underwent medical treatments and two were taken to hospital.
No cause has been identified yet, but police are investigating the possibility that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The first investigation showed that the driver was behind the wheel without a break for at least 10 hours.
On September 3, one man died in a bus crash close to the village of Ľubochňa in the Ružomberok District. The victim was a 32-year-old man, TASR wrote.
The bus belonged to the Czech company ČSAD Kladno. It was on its regular route between Kladno and Spišská Nová Ves when it skidded, hit a hill and turned on its side.
Eight other people suffered minor injuries. There were 25 passengers and two drivers on the bus.
Police are still investigating the crash.
10. Sep 2007 at 0:00 | From press reports