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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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Four children dead after school bus and train collide in France

The incident happened this afternoon, close to the city of Perpignan.

AT LEAST FOUR children were killed and 19 people were injured after a train crashed into a school bus at a level crossing in France, according to local media reports.

The bus was struck by the train in Millas about 18 kilometres west of the city of Perpignan, close to the Spanish border.

The bus was carrying secondary school students, and was struck from behind, according to local media reports.

“The bus was very badly hit,” the public prosecutor in Perpignan, Jean-Jacques Fagny, said.

Sky News is reporting that France’s transport minister Elizabeth Borne is travelling to the scene after describing the incident as a “terrible accident”. The French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe is also reportedly at the scene.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent a message of condolences to the victims of the tragedy:

My thoughts are with the victims and the families of this terrible school bus crash. The resources of the State are ready to help them.

The accident is the third involving several fatalities on French railways in the past four years.

In 2015, a high-speed TGV train being tested on a stretch of the line between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg derailed after hitting a bridge at 243 kilometres-per-hour, killing 11 people onboard.

In 2013, seven people were killed when a commuter train slammed into a station south of Paris. A signalling defect was blamed for that crash.

- With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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