EThe coach drove into the group on the sidelines of a Catholic youth meeting in Slovakia. Three girls who were hit by a vehicle and trapped died, Slovak Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok said on Saturday, according to the TASR agency. The politician drove to the accident site in Spisske Podhradie in the eastern part of the country.

According to the police, two of the dead were 17 and one 18 years old. Seven more people were seriously injured, one of them critically. They were taken to hospitals by ambulance and two helicopters. The Home Secretary said he was at a loss for words: “Three young lives have been lost here, the lives of three young girls who were on their way to a Catholic meeting to celebrate – and it ended so tragically.”

Why the coach started to move was initially incomprehensible. The police and the prosecutor's office started an investigation. The Minister of the Interior announced that the driver's alcohol test result was negative. The man is in shock and that's why we haven't been able to interview him yet. It was speculated that the handbrake may not have been applied.

“Ten people pulled together”

According to TASR, the mayor of the district, Michal Kapusta, said: “According to the first information, people got off the bus, divided into groups and started walking in front of the bus towards Spisska Kapitula. Then the bus started moving and pulled ten people under it.

The group of young people, aged around 14 to 18, were to attend a diocesan youth meeting in Spisske Podhradie, almost 300 kilometers northeast of Bratislava. The Cathedral of St. Martin is located in the district of Spisska Kapitula. The rest of the program of the event was canceled and a silent prayer was called for the victims. Bishop Frantisek Trstensky of the Diocese of Spise expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. “I feel great pain and sadness because young people came here to pray,” he said.

With nearly 5.5 million inhabitants, Slovakia is strongly influenced by Christianity. In the last census of 2021, 62 percent of citizens professed the Catholic faith. The accident overshadowed the second and last round of the EU and NATO member presidential elections. Outgoing president Zuzana Caputova said her thoughts are with everyone affected by the accident. Left-nationalist Prime Minister Robert Fico wrote on Facebook that the tragedy is yet another proof of the accidents that human negligence can cause.