4 children killed in school bus-train collision in southern France

16 December, 2017, 19:24 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Perpignan crash

Deaths from the crash rose from four to six overnight, with eight including the driver left seriously injured as of Friday morning. Twenty-one people were injured, many of them critically, including several on the train. "The (bus) driver went through and stopped half way, and that's where the train crashed into it".

Transport minister Elisabeth Borne, the president of SNCF Guillaume Pepy and the CEO of the SNCF Network Patrick Jeantet, have also been present at the scene.

Another eyewitness on the train told L'Independant that the impact was so strong, passengers feared the train was about to derail. "The level crossing was very visible", she said.

Investigators are looking at whether a technical malfunction or human error caused the crash.

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The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to SNCF policy.

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The accident occurred at about 4 p.m. local time close to the village of Millas, as children ages 11 to 15 were being taken home at the end of the day.

At least four children have died after a train sliced open a school bus in southern France.

Borne expressed her "very strong emotion following the bad accident" Thursday at a crossing near to the village of Millas, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Perpignan, in the Pyrenees close to the border with Spain.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe described the crash as a "terrible accident" and said on Twitter he was heading to the scene, more than 850 kilometres from Paris. The number of dead and injured was not confirmed. However, authorities have yet to announce whether the incident involved casualties. Philippe Vignes, the Pyrenees-Orientales chief, told BFM television he could not say whether the railway barriers meant to stop vehicles from driving onto the tracks when a train is coming were opened or closed.

Around 70 emergency workers, backed by four helicopters, were deployed as part of the rescue effort.

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