Suspected homemade bomb found on bus in Hungary

Owned by a Romanian company, the bus was on a route linking Prague to Varna, Bulgaria

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A suspected homemade bomb was found this weekend on a bus in Hungary that had 34 passengers on board, prompting a probe by the EU's policing agency, the driver and officials said Monday.

“A flammable substance was found on the afternoon of May 16 on a bus registered in Bulgaria and travelling in Hungarian territory,” Bulgaria's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Owned by a Romanian company, the bus was on a route linking Prague to Varna, Bulgaria.

“An investigation is underway. No information on the subject will be transmitted except by Europol,” the ministry said.

Driver Dragomir Petkov told AFP by phone there was a homemade bomb on the bus.

“On the Budapest ring road, I smelled the strong odour of gasoline and acetone. I checked the baggage compartment, and found that several bags were wet. In one bag, I found a home-made bomb: a gasoline jerry can, with cables and a timer,” Petkov said.

He believes the bag belonged to a passenger who was either Czech or Slovak, and who got off the bus at Bratislava.

One of the passengers told Bulgarian national radio BNR that the presumed suspect “was around 25 years old and smelled of alcohol”.

“Hungarian police officers told us we were living a second life” after narrowly escaping death, he added.

Hungarian police later confirmed in a statement published on its website that a suspicious package was made safe at the site and then removed for further examination.

Hungary's National Investigation Bureau has opened an investigation into the incident “on suspicion of attempted murder,” the police statement added.

The bus eventually reached Sofia on Monday morning, after a lengthy delay of 18 hours, the driver said.