LESKOVAC – A van packed with migrants careened off the road and overturned on a highway near Leskovac, southern Serbia, early Tuesday morning.

Illustration - Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters
Illustration – Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters

The accident occurred on the Corridor X section between the Donje Krajince and Gornje Krajince villages near the southern Serbian city around 4.30 a.m.. The 42 injured passengers from the van carrying 54 people have been hospitalized.

The injured migrants came from Bangladesh, Algeria, Laos, Kashmir, Syria, Nigeria and Burma.

According to preliminary information, the van, of the Iveco brand, had license plates issued in the southern Serbian city of Nis, and the driver fled the scene after the accident despite injuries he had sustained. The van was completely smashed.

Director of the General Hospital in Leskovac Nebojsa Dimitrijevic said that doctors at the hospital had taken care of all 42 patients, six of whom had been sent to the Clinical Center in Nis and four to Belgrade.

Most of the patients who remained in the Leskovac hospital are in a stable condition.

“Eight patients have been admitted to the ENT department. Seven patients are in the surgical department, six in neurosurgery, four in orthopedics, and seven patients are in the emergency department. Six patients have been transported to Nis and four to Belgrade,” said Dimitrijevic.

According to head of surgery Jovica Vuckovic, all of the injured migrants were also exhausted and hungry as they went without food for the past two days.

We also had major problems communicating, since they cannot speak English, he added.

The hospital in Leskovac contacted the epidemiology service and asked them to monitor the condition of the patients coming from countries affected by epidemics.

Two of the six illegal migrants transferred to the Clinical Center Nis are in a life-threatening condition. They were sent to the Neurosurgery Clinic and placed on a respirator, said Zoran Radovanovic, director of the Clinical Center.

The other patients suffered less severe injuries and were taken to the Orthopedic and the Maxillofacial Clinics, added Radovanovic.

The migrants came from Greece and got to Serbia through Macedonia. They sought to reach the EU by entering in Hungary.