VIDEO: France bus crash: Child's body discovery pushes death toll to 43

VIDEO: France bus crash: Child's body discovery pushes death toll to 43

A child’s body has been discovered in the wreckage of a collision between a truck and bus in south-west France, increasing the death toll to 43.

The crash between the truck and the bus, which was carrying elderly passengers, caused a fire that has also seriously injured four others.

It was France’s deadliest road accident in more than 30 years.

Images on French television showed the collapsing, charred frame of the bus engulfed by smoke near the village of Puisseguin, 30 miles east of Bordeaux.

Aerial views showed the mangled remains of both vehicles on a narrow, curving road surrounded by trees.

Eight people, including the driver, escaped after the driver quickly opened the bus door, but others were trapped as flames consumed the vehicles, Puisseguin mayor Xavier Sublett said on i-Tele television.

Among those killed was the truck driver’s three-year-old son who was travelling with his father and whose small body was discovered in the truck’s wreckage. French media said the truck driver was among the dead.

The mayor told RTL radio the truck driver lost control of the vehicle. The bus driver “tried to avoid it, but the truck came and hit it,” Mr Sublett said.

Dr Philippe Flipot of Puisseguin said he spoke to the bus driver afterwards.

“He found himself facing a jack-knifed truck, he couldn’t avoid it. He managed to open the doors and some passengers could get off the bus. Risking his life, because flames were licking him, he managed to evacuate some people,” Dr Flipot said.

Other authorities remained cautious about the circumstances of the crash. An investigation is under way. The weather in the region was overcast on Friday morning but not rainy.

Prime minister Manuel Valls called the crash the deadliest road accident in France in more than 30 years, and a “terrible shock” for the country.

Police said the death toll was unusually high because both vehicles caught fire immediately. Scores of emergency workers rushed to the scene and helicopters evacuated severely burned victims.

The accident was devastating for the surrounding communities. The bus was carrying members of a senior citizens’ club from the town of Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps on a day-long ham-tasting trip to Arzacq-Arraziguet, 120 miles away. The bus had travelled just a few minutes, about four miles, when the collision occurred.

Calling the crash an “immense tragedy,” French President Francois Hollande promised an investigation into what happened. Mr Hollande, visiting Greece at the time, also expressed “the solidarity of the whole nation” with the victims’ loved ones.

More on this topic

VIDEO: At least 42 reported dead after truck and bus collide in FranceVIDEO: At least 42 reported dead after truck and bus collide in France

More in this Section

Second World War veteran, 102, ‘quite proud’ after fighting off burglarSecond World War veteran, 102, ‘quite proud’ after fighting off burglar

Hong Kong theatre group volunteers make homemade masks to combat coronavirusHong Kong theatre group volunteers make homemade masks to combat coronavirus

Morgan Stanley buying E-Trade for £10bnMorgan Stanley buying E-Trade for £10bn

Victoria’s Secret sale agreedVictoria’s Secret sale agreed


Lifestyle

March is the perfect time to take action when it comes to your lawn, writes Peter DowdallGrassroots campaign: Take action in your lawn

Robin Maharaj, director at Kilkenny Architectural Salvage and AntiquesRobin Maharaj: ‘If you take a longterm view you won’t go wrong’

Fond recollections of a legend, an industry titan comes to Cork, Grimes' new album impresses critics, and Cork French Film Festival announces its lineup, writes Des O'DriscollScene and Heard: ‘Fail we may, sail we must’

Irish Examiner arts editor Des O'Driscoll picks his top gigs from the weekend's event, at venues around Cork City.Right Here, Right Now: this weekend's highlights

More From The Irish Examiner