A car carrying migrants crashed Sunday in western Hungary, killing seven people and critically injuring three others, Hungarian officials said. The driver was also hurt.
Hungarian Health Minister Marton Gyongyosi said the car was overloaded with six migrants when it crashed in Kosice, Slovakia, in the north of the country. He said the migrants did not appear to be seriously injured.
The Slovakia-Hungary border is some 280 kilometers (175 miles) from Kosice, but migrants have been making the journey across the border often in the last year.
The Hungarian Red Cross said the dead and injured were being sent to Budapest, the capital, for urgent medical treatment.
Migrants have been sleeping rough in Kosice for the last few weeks because authorities have been temporarily closing that border, having repented under a deal with the European Union last year to funnel asylum-seekers into more than a dozen countries along the EU’s borderless Schengen zone.
Many people say they are fleeing war and persecution, though the vast majority they are reaching reach the EU along its external borders, sometimes with the blessing of their governments.
Hungary was one of the most often-used migrant entry points in Europe last year, with over 52,000 migrants entering the country, mainly from its border with Serbia. Many died or went missing.
Hungary had arrested around 7,000 migrants in raids launched in August last year, an unprecedented mass arrest in Europe. It further tightened its border, sometimes locking up would-be migrants in tents near its border with Serbia, sometimes in sewage pipes.
Most of those were under orders to leave Hungary within a year under a deal struck with the EU last year, which agreed to return migrants to Greece from where most of them had come. So far, only two migrants have been returned to Greece, while the rest are still in detention.
From Austria, the migrants usually make their way south to Germany and on to wealthy Sweden and Norway.