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IRU Salutes Heroes of the Road

Date

02 Dec 2010

Sections

Transport

A Bulgarian coach crew has been awarded the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur for its outstanding professionalism, determination and bravery demonstrated when their coach was hijacked and passengers taken hostage.

Brussels – On the occasion of the 1st IRU/EU Presidency Road Transport Conference and Ministerial Meeting in Brussels, the IRU today awarded the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur to Kremena Todorava, Dobrin Ivanov and Krum Krumov from the Bulgarian coach company, BIOMET, as an international recognition by the entire road transport industry for their outstanding act of courage and bravery performed in the course of their duty.

In January 2009, a coach departing from Sofia with 37 passengers onboard 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.

Awarding the Grand Prix d’Honneur, 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.”

Mrs Todorava, Mr Ivanov and Mr Krumov are citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria and work for the Bulgarian coach company BIOMET, a member of the Association of the Bulgarian Enterprises for International Road Transport and the Roads (AEBTRI), the IRU Bulgarian Member Association.

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* The “Grand Prix d’Honneur” was created in 1967 as a distinction to be awarded by an international jury to a driver or drivers in international road transport who perform an outstanding act of courage in the course of their professional duties.

 

The jury which attributed the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur 2010 comprised representatives of the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe - Transport Division, Alliance Internationale de Tourisme & Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (AIT & FIA), International Road Federation (IRF) and International Road Transport Union (IRU).

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Press contact: Juliette Ebélé, +41 22 918 27 07, Press@iru.org

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