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Old 23-10-15, 21:36   #1
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European Union PhOtOs>France's Worst Fireball Road Accident -Kills 43+

French Bus Crash > Worst in Decades...
Families' Agony as At Least 43 People are Killed in High-Speed Crash Fireball After Tourist Coach Collides with Lorry in France
  • Horror smash happened near Bordeaux, south west France, around 7.30am
  • Elderly and disabled passengers burned alive after getting trapped on bus
  • A three-year-old boy and his truck driver father were also among the dead
  • Eight managed to escape burning wreckage four with serious injuries
  • Hollande expressed 'solidarity of the whole nation' with relatives of victims
  • Crash is the deadliest road accident in France for more than three decades

23 October 2015

PUISSEGUIN, France, Oct 23 (Reuters) - At least 41 people on a bus carrying elderly day-trippers were killed early on Friday when the bus hit a truck head-on and caught fire, in France's worst road crash in more than 30 years.

Two people, including a young boy, died in the truck. A total of eight people were injured.

Fireball horror: Aerial images show the devastating aftermath of the head-on crash between a lorry and a coach which has killed at least 43 people near Bordeaux in south-west France

Many of the victims, most of them elderly, are thought to have burned to death after getting trapped in the wreckage of the coach and were unable to smash the windows to escape

Inferno: Images showed the devastating aftermath of the crash with both vehicles reduced to cinder at a notorious accident blackspot on a narrow winding road through woods

Investigation: Gendarmes and forensic technicians inspecting the wreckage the coach that burst into flames

The bus and the truck collided near a forested bend on a two-lane road cut into a hillside near Puisseguin in the Gironde region, about 60 km (35 miles) east of Bordeaux, the local prefect's office said in a statement.
TV footage showed two blackened vehicles, with the bus facing the wood-transporter's trailer, the truck's cab skewed to one side, and scorched vegetation around the site, which was sealed off by police.

The bus was carrying about 50 pensioners south to the Bearn region from their homes in the village of Petit Palais and surrounding hamlets. The crash occurred just a few minutes after the pensioners had boarded the bus.

Among the dead were the driver of the articulated lorry and a young boy who was in the cab, according to the local prefect's office. News reports said the child was about three years old.

The driver of the bus was among the survivors, who were able to exit through the front door he opened, according to a source close to an inquiry that was under way within hours.

The source said the truck apparently veered onto the wrong side of the road as it came around a bend.

Tragedy: Paramedics take an injured person away from the scene of a horror crash in France

Patricia Raichini, the mayor of Petit-Palais, said three members of her own family had died in the accident.

Francois Decauze, a local artist who had helped organise the trip, said his wife had been due to go, but 'pulled out at the last minute'.
He added: 'We heard that those travelling on the coach had to try and break windows to get out. This would have caused panic.
'We are all in shock. It's terrible. We are getting information as it arrives. The phone has not stopped ringing.'

Among the eight survivors, two are 'fighting for their lives' with head injuries, two are badly burned, and four are lightly injured, said a spokesman for the local prefecture.
He added that the surviving coach driver was among those who would be interviewed at length as part of a detailed investigation by police and prosecutors.

Puisseguin, which has a population of just over 800, was this morning closed to traffic and filled with emergency service vehicles.

A French investigator says it's far too early to know the cause of a fiery crash between the truck and the bus

The investigators' priority is to identify the victims, a task made difficult by the charred state of their remains

Experts will begin analysing the wreckage and collecting testimony from survivors, including the bus driver

'Immense tragedy': Francois Hollande said his government was 'fully mobilised' to deal with the tragedy

A French emergency service helicopter prepares for take off following the fatal bus crash in Puisseguin

A French Civil guard helicopter flies overhead following the fatal bus crash in Puisseguin, near Bordeaux

A spokesman for the interior ministry said that, as far as he could tell, all the bus passengers were French and from the region.

President Francois Hollande, speaking on a visit to Athens, said he had been "plunged into sadness by the tragedy". Prime Minister Manuel Valls went to the scene.

It was the worst road accident in France since 53 people, mostly children, died in a bus crash in Burgundy in July 1982, according to the independent road safety organisation Association Prevention Routiere.

Stricter road regulation and lower speed limits followed, and traffic deaths in France have fallen steeply since. According to official statistics, more than 16,000 people were dying on the roads every year in the early 1970s.

In recent years the annual death toll has dropped below 4,000. (Additional reporting by Claude Cannelas in Bordeaux; Chine Labbe in Paris and Jean-Baptiste Vey in Athens; Writing by Andrew Callus and Michel Rose;
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