At least four students are dead after a train slammed into a school bus just outside of Perpignan, France. At least 19 other people are injured according to media reports, and at least seven of those who were wounded were hurt seriously. The students who were on the bus are said to be between 11 and 15 years of age. Pictures from the scene of the school bus-train crash show that the force of the collision sliced the bus in two.
Cause of the school bus-train crash now under investigation
According to France’s interior ministry, there were 25 people aboard the bus when the train collided with it. A spokesperson for the country’s state-owned railway operator told the Huffington Post that the train was traveling 80 kilometers an hour (about 50 miles per hour) when it slammed into the school bus. A witness who was riding on the train at the time of the collision told the BBC that it seemed like the train was going to derail and described it as “a very violent crash.”
Officials are investigating the cause of the crash, but the railway spokesperson said that it happened at “classic crossing” that was well-lit and had a gate that was working properly, as it had come down. Images from the scene of the crash showed many ambulances and emergency personnel around the train crossing where it happened, just west of Perpignan, near the border with Spain. According to the BBC, about 70 emergency personnel and four helicopters were dispatched to the scene for the rescue efforts.
School bus-train crash was a “terrible accident”
On Twitter, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe describes the school-bus train crash as a “terrible accident” and said he is en route to the scene immediately, according to a translation of his post. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne also said she is heading to the site of the school bus-train crash. According to a translation of her post, she said there is “very strong emotion” following the collision and that the nation’s relief services are “fully mobilized.”