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Truck carrying migrants overturns in Croatia, killing 4

March 22, 2021 GMT
In this photo provided by Novska Fire Brigade, emergency services at the site of an overturned truck trailer on the motorway near Okucani, Croatia, Monday, March 22, 2021. A truck has overturned in Croatia killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others. Croatian police say the accident happened early on Monday on a motorway near the border with Bosnia. They say the truck had Serbian license plates. Croatian state HRT television says the truck was transporting tons of heavy paper rolls which crushed some of the migrants when the truck overturned. (Novska Fire Brigade via AP)
In this photo provided by Novska Fire Brigade, emergency services at the site of an overturned truck trailer on the motorway near Okucani, Croatia, Monday, March 22, 2021. A truck has overturned in Croatia killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others. Croatian police say the accident happened early on Monday on a motorway near the border with Bosnia. They say the truck had Serbian license plates. Croatian state HRT television says the truck was transporting tons of heavy paper rolls which crushed some of the migrants when the truck overturned. (Novska Fire Brigade via AP)
In this photo provided by Novska Fire Brigade, emergency services at the site of an overturned truck trailer on the motorway near Okucani, Croatia, Monday, March 22, 2021. A truck has overturned in Croatia killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others. Croatian police say the accident happened early on Monday on a motorway near the border with Bosnia. They say the truck had Serbian license plates. Croatian state HRT television says the truck was transporting tons of heavy paper rolls which crushed some of the migrants when the truck overturned. (Novska Fire Brigade via AP)
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In this photo provided by Novska Fire Brigade, emergency services at the site of an overturned truck trailer on the motorway near Okucani, Croatia, Monday, March 22, 2021. A truck has overturned in Croatia killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others. Croatian police say the accident happened early on Monday on a motorway near the border with Bosnia. They say the truck had Serbian license plates. Croatian state HRT television says the truck was transporting tons of heavy paper rolls which crushed some of the migrants when the truck overturned. (Novska Fire Brigade via AP)
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In this photo provided by Novska Fire Brigade, emergency services at the site of an overturned truck trailer on the motorway near Okucani, Croatia, Monday, March 22, 2021. A truck has overturned in Croatia killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others. Croatian police say the accident happened early on Monday on a motorway near the border with Bosnia. They say the truck had Serbian license plates. Croatian state HRT television says the truck was transporting tons of heavy paper rolls which crushed some of the migrants when the truck overturned. (Novska Fire Brigade via AP)

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — A freight truck overturned in Croatia early Monday, killing four migrants who were hiding inside and injuring a number of others, police said.

The crash happened on a highway near the border with Bosnia, Croatian police said in a statement. The truck had Serbian license plates, the statement said.

Croatian state HRT television reported that the truck was transporting heavy paper rolls that crushed some of the migrants who were hiding among the cargo when the vehicle overturned.

A local official, Zlatko Pjes, told HRT that at least 11 people were transported to hospitals in the area, including some with serious injuries. He said the migrants were Syrian.

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“We found a very difficult situation, people crying for help,” Pjes later told the Index news portal. He said the top of truck came off and some migrants fell out, and that “those who did fall out ended up with light injuries while those left inside paid with their lives.”

Index and other media reported that a total 19 people were injured, but police have not confirmed the number.

HRT said the injured included at least one child and that a man had to have his arm amputated due to the severity of the injuries.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash near the Croatian town of Okucani, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the capital, Zagreb.

Refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia frequently pass through the Balkans while attempting to reach wealthy European Union nations. Migrants often pay people smugglers to arrange for illegal transport or sneak onto freight trucks.

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