Bosnia: Bus Carrying Wis. Tourists Crashes 6/13/07
The bus, with 35 people mostly from Wisconsin, was headed to the holy shrine in Medjugorje. The shrine has been visited by millions of faithful since 1981, when six Bosnian Croats said they began seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
After the crash, the tour bus plunged down a 40-foot ravine into a river.
Elizabeth Meier's husband, Andy Meier, is still fighting for his life. He suffered a broken back in the crash.
"He has no feeling from the mid chest down," she told Jacobs in Sarajevo Wednesday.
She also told Jacobs that she is holding up well. She got a few bruises in the accident.
Elizabeth Meier also said she wants to thank people back in Wisconsin for their prayers.
She said her faith remains strong, and she and her family are grateful to be alive.
Jacobs also spoke to Fr. Rick Wendell, the spiritual leader for the tour group. The priest from West Bend has a broken wrist, but he is thankful everyone on the tour bus is still alive.
"I think, given the circumstances, we are doing really well. This is a horrific thing that happens, it's very traumatic. This is an extremely serious accident, in which according to other people and I think according to us, many people could have died."
Fr. Wendell was sitting in the front seat of the tour bus. He saw the semi trailer coming right at them.
"The trailer part of it came all the way over until it was almost touching the guard rail on our side, so we had no place to go. And then the impact - our driver had nothing he could do. And when it hit, everything went dark and then there was a second large crunch."
After the crash, 20 people were hospitalized in Sarajevo's Kosevo hospital, and of those, two were children - an 11-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother.
"They were more traumatized by the accident than injured," said the hospital's Dr. Lidija Lincender.
Seven others were taken to the General Hospital, the U.S. embassy reported.
Most people had broken bones, scrapes, bruises or concussions.
After being released from the hospital, some of the injured tourists were staying at the Hotel America, a small bed and breakfast near the hospital and U.S. embassy in Sarajevo.
Many were still planning to make the pilgrimage to the holy shrine in Medjugorje.
In addition to the ongoing request for prayers for those involved in this tragic event, a fund has been established to assist with medical costs and the cost of medical transports. The fund is called the Bosnia Bus Crash Fund.
Donations are being accepted at:
West Bend Savings Bank
P.O. Box 437
West Bend, Wisconsin 53095
For more information, visit the American Embassy Web site for Bosnia.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)