At least 15 people were killed when a tourist coach crashed along a winding road in west Bulgaria on Saturday, the health ministry said.

“We can confirm 15 dead and 27 injured,” ministry spokeswoman Katia Sungarska told BNT public television.

The accident happened when the coach full of Bulgarian tourists on a visit to a monastery, ran off the road and overturned near the town of Svoge.

Four cars were crushed in the accident, according to police.

Bulgaria is the poorest country in the European Union. Its road network in parts is poorly maintained and many of the vehicles are relatively old.

There are around a thousand road accident victims each year throughout the country.

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