A train and a school bus have collided near Perpignan in southern France. The bus, which had left the Christian Bourquin College in Millas, was on the crossing when it was hit by the train, which was traveling from Perpignan at around 80km/h (50mph). It was cut in two.
The bus had picked up pupils, aged between 13 and 17, from a nearby secondary school before it was hit. At least four children were killed. Twenty people were injured and 11 of them were in a critical condition.Train operator SNCF said witnesses had reported seeing the barriers at the level crossing down at the time of the collision. The driver of the bus was a woman.
Bus hit by train in France
"The level crossing was very visible," Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie regional council, appreciated. it involved an automatic barrier with standard signals and was not considered particularly dangerous. A grandmother of an injured 11-year-old girl who had been on the bus told however the barrier was not working correctly and that is why the bus stopped in dangerous area. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who visited the scene, said the task of identifying the victims was proving extremely difficult. Around 70 emergency workers and four helicopters were deployed as part of the rescue effort. A statement from the education minister's office said he would visit "to support students, families, teachers and the entire educational community". French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences.