School bus, train crash in southern France

Three dead after school bus hit by train at rail crossing in France

The incident, in which the train, travelling at 50 miles per hour, slammed into the rear third of the bus, was the worst involving school transport in France for three decades.

The site has been sealed off as police examine whether a technical or human error was to blame.

Witnesses said the crossing gates at the scene were working at the time of the crash, with one SNCF railways official saying that the train, which had 25 people on board at the time, would normally travel at 80km per hour.

Authorities in the Pyrenees-Orientales region said the earlier statement that six children had died was not confirmed after the horrific crash at a crossing close to the Spanish border.

The bus was cut in two by the force of the train.

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Some 30 people were on the regional train at the time. "It is an appalling tragedy", she said.

French media are reporting 20 passengers had also been injured, 11 of them critically, following the incident near Perpignan.

The accident took place on a level crossing between Millas and Saint-FĂ©liu-d'Amont.

The French Transport Minister Elizabeth Borne, who is travelling to the scene, has described the collision as a "terrible accident".

In a tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences: "All my thoughts for the victims of this bad accident involving a school bus, as well as their families".

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