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Coach crew professionalism saves lives

Grand prix d'Honneur


Bulgarian coach crew from the BIOMET Company, Kremena Todorava, Dobrin Ivanov and Krum Krumov, received the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur, an international award, recognising their outstanding act of courage, bravery, and professionalism that saved the lives of 37 passengers onboard when an armed man hijacked their bus.

In January 2009, a coach departing from Sofia was hijacked by an armed man, who claimed that he had planted a bomb in the luggage compartment. Risking their own lives, the coach crew diverted the hijacker’s attention to alert the coach company’s main office, explaining within seconds that the coach had been taken hostage by an armed man who was threatening to kill passengers. 

    The situation escalated when the coach stopped at a fuel station near the village of Sopot, where the hijacker demanded to talk to the media while the Police Special Forces were positioning themselves in the vicinity of the coach, in the midst of ongoing threats from the hostage-taker causing panic amongst passengers. In this oppressive situation, the coach crew, once again acted courageously by calming the passengers down, while facilitating negotiations between the hostage-taker and the police. Finally, after 4 arduous hours of discussion, the hostage-taker surrendered, and all passengers were released unharmed.

Presenting the award on the occasion of the 1st IRU/EU Presidency Road Transport Conference and Ministerial Meeting, IRU President, Janusz Lacny, said, “In our modern society, ordinary people still find themselves in extraordinary situations and perform heroic acts. Thanks to Mrs Todorava’s, Mr Ivanov’s and Mr Krumov’s high level of professionalism and courageous intervention, the hijacking of their coach was brought to an end without any casualties among the passengers or crew. The IRU salutes these three heroes of the road.”

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