School bus crash driver says level crossing was not working

17 December, 2017, 03:00 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • France school bus crash

Three people have died in a "terrible accident" involving a school bus and a train in the south of France.

Witnesses said the school bus, thought to be carrying students as young as 11, was reportedly cut in two during the collision, Sky News reported.

Train operator SNCF said witnesses had reported seeing the barriers at the level crossing down at the time of the collision, although that was not confirmed.

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Deaths from the crash rose from four to six overnight, with eight including the driver left seriously injured as of Friday morning.

The bus was transporting students between a school in Millas and the communities of Saint-Feliu-D'Amont and Saint-Feliu-d'Avall.

The bus was struck by the train in Millas about 18 kilometres west of the city of Perpignan, close to the Spanish border.

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"Everyone has been touched and the trauma is going to last", French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said of the shock to the small town.

In a tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron said: "All my thoughts for the victims of this awful accident involving a school bus, as well as their families".

"Emergency services have been mobilized and a crisis co-coordination unit [has been] set up", a local official told Reuters. "The authorities are fully mobilised to come to their aid".

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Counsellors are also setting up at a local sports hall.

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