World

4 people die in Croatia when a car carrying migrants hits a wall

ZAGREB, Croatia — (AP) — A car carrying migrants on Thursday skidded off a road and hit a wall in southern Croatia, killing four people and seriously injuring five others, including two children, police said.

A Moldovan national who was the driver was killed in the crash, along with three migrants who had no identification documents, senior police official Marko Srdarević said at a news conference.

The crash happened at around 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) near the town of Sinj, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Bosnian border.

The driver rushed past a police vehicle into a crossroads before losing control and crashing into the wall, Srdarević said. Two children ages 12 and 15 were among the five injured people, who are most likely from Afghanistan and Syria, he added.

Croatian media have reported that the car crashed while the driver was trying to escape from police to avoid being caught while smuggling migrants.

Croatia is a European Union member state. Migrants trying to reach Western Europe come to Croatia through Bosnia before moving on towards Slovenia or Italy. Migrants often turn to people smugglers to get them across borders without authorization, and make multiple attempts to cross while routinely facing pushbacks by police.

Police also found two other vehicles involved in the illegal transfer of migrants, Srdarević said. One had Polish license plates and the other Hungarian ones. A total of 11 foreign nationals were in the two vehicles, including people from Syria, Afghanistan, Moldova and Romania.

One of the injured men, who said he was from Afghanistan, told police this was his fourth attempt to enter Croatia, Srdarević said.

Earlier, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that what happened “wasn't a classic car chase” and that the driver hit the wall while trying to turn at a curve at “unadjusted” speed.

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Follow AP's coverage of migration issues at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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