Macedonian Rescuer in Hellish Crash Now Happy to Be Bulgarian

Society | December 6, 2011, Tuesday // 11:20|  views

Macedonian driver Vasko Risteski (right) received Saturday his Bulgarian ID documents from Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (left) in Varna on June 18. Photo by BGNES

Vasko Risteski, the Macedonian truck driver who saved five Bulgarians injured in a hellish bus crash in June, has been welcomed in the Black Sea city of Burgas as a Bulgarian citizen.

Risteski, who arrived in Burgas to honor the city's official holiday on Tuesday, revealed that his life has not changed too much since he became a hero.

"I am still working as a truck driver. I am enjoying more privileges as a Bulgarian citizen now," Risteski has told the Bulgarian 24 chasa daily.

Time cannot heal the emotional wounds one gets after witnessing such a tragic accident, the Macedonian says. The traumatic experience has resulted in a new friendship for him – he has recently become close with another rescuer from the same bus crash, Bulgarian Stefan Ivanov,

The bus crash on Bulgaria's Trakiya Highway in the early hours of June 15 killed 8 Bulgarians. Risteski happened to be on the spot, and immediately started helping injured people to get out of the burning bus.

The Macedonian truck driver, a native of Bitolja, received his Bulgarian ID documents personally from Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on June 18.

In the recent years, a large number of people from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been applying for Bulgarian citizenship. Macedonians are granted Bulgarian passports if they can provide evidence of their ethnic Bulgarian origin as until the first half of the 20th century the Slavic population of Macedonia was deemed an integral part of the Bulgarian nation.

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Tags: vasko risteski, bulgarian citizen, Macedonian, truck driver, bus crash, rescuer


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