Iraqi Refugee Travels Five Hours Hiding Under Bus in Balkans

Iraqi refugee Croatia

A young Iraqi refugee sneaked under a bus in Serbia and traveled for five hours clinging to its axle before he was discovered in Croatia, media reported Thursday.

The Jutarnji List daily quoted officials of the Croatian bus company Cazmatrans as saying that the 21-year-old migrant got under the bus traveling from Belgrade to Zagreb on Tuesday.

It said he risked his life for five hours holding on to the axle with his arms and legs.

“We heard a loud noise under the bus… We called one of the bus drivers and when he heard the unusual sounds he stopped the bus,” one of the passengers was quoted by the paper as saying.

As soon as the bus stopped near Ivanic Grad, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Zagreb, the visibly shocked young man crawled out, dirty and with blood on his hands, the passenger said.

Croatian police in a statement said they found the 21-year-old man at a roadside rest area after being called by the bus driver.

They said the migrant received medical attention but was not seriously injured. Police said they were checking the circumstances of his entry into Croatia.

Croatia, a European Union member, lies on a route that was used by hundreds of thousands of migrants traveling through the Balkans to western and northern Europe until authorities moved to stop them in 2016.

Several thousand migrants got stuck in Serbia, but every day dozens still try to continue on their journey.