SKOPJE -- The remains of 45 people, including 12 children, killed in a bus crash in neighboring Bulgaria last week have arrived in North Macedonia for burial.
Two military plane carrying the remains landed at Skopje's airport on December 3, with funerals expected to take place later in the day.
President Stevo Pendarovski, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and parliamentary speaker Talat Xhaferi were among North Macedonia officials who paid tribute to the victims by laying wreaths on the runway.
Foreign dignitaries also attended the ceremony, including Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani and Albanian Interior Minister Blendi Cuci.
Meanwhile, the public paid tribute to the victims of the crash on Skopje’s Skanderbeg Square.
"I don't know them at all. However, I sympathize with all of them,” said Skopje resident Imrane Sulejmani. "I have a child, and it could have happened to him, too."
A previously announced procession through the capital was canceled at the request of the victims' families.
The bus was traveling from Istanbul to Skopje via Bulgaria on November 23 when it was involved in a fiery crash on a highway outside Sofia.
All of the victims were from North Macedonia. Most were ethnic Albanian tourists.
An investigation into the cause of the accident is being led by the Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office in cooperation with its counterpart in North Macedonia.
Officials in North Macedonia said the initial probe suggested that the tragedy was caused by human error.