Hungary came under heavy criticism for pushing asylum seekers back to Serbia | Photo: Picture-alliance
Hungary came under heavy criticism for pushing asylum seekers back to Serbia | Photo: Picture-alliance

Some 26 migrants and the driver were injured when their van crashed into a house in southern Hungary, according to local media and police reports.

The overcrowded vehicle crashed into the wall of a house in the Hungarian village of Forráskút, near the Serbian border, early on Wednesday, according to reports from news agency dpa and local media, citing police sources.

Hungarian police said that the cause of the crash was not yet known, according to dpa. Hungarian news program Hirado reported that the driver had likely been driving too fast, rendering him unable to stop at an intersection, crashing the car into a flower shop, leaving the front of the vehicle completely shattered.

Migrants crammed into a rented van

At least 27 people were reportedly injured: 26 migrants who had reportedly been travelling in the vehicle as well as the driver, a Belgian citizen, according to dpa. Of them, 17 suffered serious injuries, 10 minor injuries.

Two people involved in the crash escaped without injuries, according to dpa.

"Most of [the migrants] had chest, abdominal, pelvic and lower extremity injuries, and were crammed into a van designed for far less than that number of people. A lot of people were thrown out of the vehicle on impact and suffered serious injuries as a result," said Attila Zentay, a director of the local emergency services, according to reports from Hirado.

Driver facing people smuggling charges

Statements from the Hungarian police described the van's passengers as "illegal migrants." Investigators believe that the migrants climbed over the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border before getting in the van, according to dpa.

The driver is now facing criminal charges of people smuggling and causing a serious road accident.

Eastern EU member Hungary is known for its tough anti-migration policies: NGOs have repeatedly criticized the harsh treatment of migrants and refugees under Viktor Orban; last year, an EU court ruled that Budapest broke the law by deporting asylum seekers. Because of this, most migrants and refugees that cross into the country see Hungary as a transit point en route to Western Europe, rather than a destination.


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