Four children have lost their lives after a bus and train collided in southern France. Authorities have confirmed that twenty more are injured, with eleven of them in critical condition.
The collision happened after the bus picked up students from a nearby secondary school. Authorities continue to investigate the accident but have already said that the school bus was on the crossing when the collision happened. The train was traveling at around 50 mph when it collided with the bus, according to an official.
A witness told local media that it was a very violent crash and thought the train was going to derail. Authorities are now investigating the accident and will soon interview the driver of the bus. The driver of the train, which was carrying 30 passengers, and bus were not seriously injured.
The rescue efforts began shortly after the crash, with 70 emergency workers and four helicopters in the area. The Education Minister’s office released a statement saying Jean-Michel Blanquer would visit to support students, teachers, families and the educational community.
The collision has left a few questions as the grandmother of a girl that was on the bus said she told her that the barrier was not down and remained raised. She said that the red lights that flash did not turn on. A spokeswoman for the country’s national rail company said the crossing was a normal one. She added that a number of witnesses have said that the barriers were down, so they were functioning but finished by saying that all this will be the subject of an investigation. The collision happened at around 4:30 pm and emergency teams quickly arrived to help with the rescue efforts. Helicopters took the injured to nearby hospitals.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his condolences. In the tweet, he says the state is doing everything in its power to support the rescue operation. The mayor of Saint-Féliu-d’Amont, Robert Olive, visited the scene and said he was deeply shocked.