The Tragic Accident of a Group of Orthodox Pilgrims from Vlora

The Albanian Orthodox Church – May – June 2016

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Archbishop Anastasios’ visit to the injured in the accident in Kruja on May 27, 2016

On Friday, May 27, a group of Orthodox pilgrims of the community of Saints Theodor Church in Vlora, had a tragic and fatal accident. After visiting the Monastery of St. Vlash in Durres, the group headed for the city of Kruja where the accident happened. Right in the center of the city, the bus by which the pilgrims were travelling caught fire due to an electric spark, putting thus in danger the lives of all people inside. Heart-felt thanks go to Kruja citizens and especially to one of them who happened to be near the site of the accident, who intervened to help and smashed the vehicle windows to get the people out, saving as a result the lives of most of them. Unfortunately, our very dear sister in Christ, Ms. Violeta Gjika, could not survive the flames. May God establish her soul in the tents of the righteous and ease the pain to her family members!

Also special thanks are extended to firefighters, police officers, health care service workers at the hospital of Kruja and to all those who helped the injured through maximum commitment.

On the other side, the Ministry of Health helped to transfer the seriously injured patients to the Burns Unit in the University Hospital Center “Mother Teresa” in Tirana, where they were welcomed and treated with utmost commitment from the staff.

The injured were visited by the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Edi Rama, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Ilir Beqja who expressed their utmost concern and support for the treatment of the patients.

Each of the injured was also visited by Archbishop Anastasios, who was accompanied by the Minister of Health, both in the intensive care unit as well as in the rooms where they were hospitalized. He prayed for them, blessed them and wished them a fast recovery.

About this event, the President of the country, Mr. Bujar Nishani said, “In the position of the President of the country, I express my sincere regret and deep sorrow for the tragic bus accident that the faithful of Kruja went through. Also I extend my condolecenses to the family of the victim.”

In addition to his concern about the serious accident, the Head of the State also expressed his wishes for a faster recovery of the injured, simultaneously making a call to the Government and to the respective institutions to provide specialized assistance abroad, if necessary.

President Nishani also required prosecution and law enforcement authorities to investigate the causes of the tragic accident with fatal consequences for the pilgrims, in order that truth comes into the light and the real causes of this tragedy get revealed.

Deep pain and condolences were also expressed through social network by the President of the Democratic Party in Albania, Mr. Lulzim Basha who said: “I express my pain and sorrow for the injured involved in the fatal accident in Kruje as well as my condolences to the family of the victim. I join the prayers and hope of everybody that the consequences of this accident will not get worse and that the injured have a fast recovery. ”

The injured were also visited by Mr. Dritan Leli, the Mayor of Vlora and other deputies of the area.

Eleven faithful are hospitalized, seven of whom are in the intensive care unit risking even their lives. Let us please remain united in our prayers for their fast healing and health recovery.