Four Children Killed In School Bus And Train Collision In France
A school bus taking around 20 students home Thursday afternoon collided with a train in the south of France, resulting in "numerous victims," according to the local government.
Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe told Le Monde that four people died in the crash and 20 were injured, 11 critically.
French media reports that all of the people killed were school children.
Reports give the ages of the children on the bus as 11 to 15, or 13 to 17.
Le Monde says there were 25 people aboard the regional train and none was seriously injured.
The train and the bus collided in a village called Millas outside the city of Perpignan, close to the Spanish border. The circumstances around the crash remain unclear, but the local government described it as "a terrible accident."
Toutes mes pensées pour les victimes de ce terrible accident d’un bus scolaire et pour leurs familles. La mobilisation de l’État est totale pour leur porter secours.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 14, 2017
Pictures from the scene showed rescue workers around the school bus sheered into two pieces.
French President Emmanuel Macron said France's full resources had been mobilized in the rescue of victims.
The Préfet of the Pyrénées-Orientales said it was a major operation, including the work of nearly 100 firefighters and 15 police units. Parents were asked to convene at the Millas school where they would be "kept informed."
France's national rail authority, SNCF, told The Associated Press that witnesses reported the crossing gates had been working properly. And a rail official said the barrier — which includes flashing lights — had been lowered at the time of the crash.
France's Interior Minister Gérard Collomb was making his way to the scene of the accident Thursday, tweeting that he was "overwhelmed by the tragedy."
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