site.btaDiplomats, Community Representatives Mark 14th Anniversary of Tragic Lake Ohrid Accident with 15 Bulgarian Tourists
Representatives of the Bulgarian diplomatic missions in Skopje and Bitola in North Macedonia, of Ohrid Municipality and the associations of the Bulgarian community in the Republic of North Macedonia commemorated Tuesday the 14th anniversary of the tragedy in Lake Ohrid, in which 15 Bulgarian tourists died at the sinking of the ship Ilinden.
In front of the monument, situated in the park near Lake Ohrid, the attendees honoured the memory of the fallen and laid fresh flowers.
The Consul General of Bulgaria in Bitola, Nikolay Dimitrov, recalled the tragedy that took place on the morning of September 5, 2009. A group of Bulgarian tourists boarded the Ilinden attraction ship, which carried 57 passengers from Ohrid to the St. Nahum monastery. The ship capsized and sank about 250 meters from the shore of the lake.
Speaking at the monument, Dimitrov recalled that the Bulgarians were a group of tourists from the villages of Anton, Ribaritsa, Mirkovo and Zlatitsa who wished to visit the beloved in Bulgaria Ohrid. Regrettably, 15 of them never returned home, he said, adding that it is in their memory that those present are gathered at the monument. We are bound to note that the tragedy would have been even greater if it had not been for the local people who helped without delay and 35 Bulgarians were saved thanks to the quick reactions of all those who responded: The sailors Vasko Markoski and Dragan Naumovski from the crew of Zoran Gilevski's ship, the Alexandria, the captain Petar Vasilev, the captain of the Kristina Vasko Yanev, thanks to the commander of the nearby army unit Rade Budjakovski, the duty officer Vlatko Dimanovski and his subordinate soldiers who joined in the rescue of the Bulgarians from the sinking Ilinden. This memorial is also in their honour. It should be a reminder of their humanity, courage, readiness to help those in distress. The compassion shown by these citizens of Ohrid obliges us to come to this pilgrimage every year and testify that Bulgaria remembers," said the Consul General of Bulgaria in Bitola Nikolay Dimitrov..
The memorial to the fifteen Bulgarian tourists who died in the waters of Lake Ohrid on September 5, 2009 was built with funds from the State Cultural Institute under the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and was inaugurated on September 5, 2020.