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The Latest: French Rail Authority Says Crossing Was in Order

Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:38 PM

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on a collision between a train and a school bus in southern France (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

France's SNCF national rail authority says witnesses described the crossing gates as functioning properly at the time that a train crashed into a bus carrying children in southern France.

An SNCF official told The Associated Press that the train normally travels at 80 kilometers per hour at the location of the crash near Perpignan.

The official said "several witnesses said the barrier was down" at the time of the crash. She said 25 people were on the train at the time of the crash, and are "totally shocked."

She said that the crossing is "well-equipped" with flashing lights and the latest technology. She said it would be up to an investigation to determine whether everything functioned properly at the time of the accident Thursday evening.

The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to SNCF policy.

Four children were killed in the crash.

— By Angela Charlton

6:45 p.m.

The French Interior Ministry says four children have died and seven people are seriously hurt following a collision between a train and a school bus in southern France. Twelve people were more lightly injured.

The accident occurred at about 4 p.m. close to the village of Millas as the children were being taken home at the end of school.

Photos of the scene tweeted by a local television station showed the bus cut in half and the train derailed.

6:30 p.m.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne are traveling to the site of a collision between a train and a school bus in southern France.

Borne expressed her "very strong emotion following the terrible accident" Thursday at a crossing near to the village of Millas, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Perpignan, in the Pyrenees close to the border with Spain.

An emergency plan has been activated. The number of dead and injured was not confirmed.

5:40 p.m.

French authorities say there has been a "serious rail accident" in southern France involving a school bus and a regional train.

The Pyrenees-Orientales authority tweeted that the collision occurred Thursday afternoon on a railway crossing at a small town some 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.

Emergency services have been deployed to the site of the accident.

But French officials could not give The Associated Press any further details and didn't immediately know whether the accident had caused any injuries or deaths.

France's Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne, expressing her "very strong emotion following the terrible accident," said she was on her way to the site.

France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will go to the site.

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The Latest on a collision between a train and a school bus in southern France (all times local):7:25 p.m.France's SNCF national rail authority says witnesses described the crossing gates as functioning properly at the time that a train crashed into a bus carrying children...
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Thursday, 14 December 2017 01:38 PM
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