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Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

French prime minister: cause of crash unknown

French prime minister: cause of crash unknown

Four people were seriously injured and nine lightly injured in the bus. Three of the train's passengers were slightly injured. The school bus was reportedly cut in two in the collision.

Philippe joined Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer who had already arrived at the scene.

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.

According to estimates, at the time of the accident the train was 150 people. "The level crossing was very visible", she said. Investigators were still working to determine the cause of the crash.

Local prosecutors, a transportation office and the SNCF train system have all launched investigations as France's Ministry of Transport has promised to assist the families of the children.

At least four children were killed and more than 20 injured when a school bus collided with a train in southern France on Thursday.

The accident occurred at about 4 p.m. local time close to the village of Millas, as children ages 11 to 15 were being taken home at the end of the day.

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

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe described the crash as a "terrible accident" and said on Twitter he was heading to the scene, more than 850 kilometres from Paris.

The bus, which had left the Christian Bourquin College in Millas, was on the crossing when it was hit by the train, which was travelling from Perpignan.

Mr Vignes said he could not say whether the railway barriers meant to stop vehicles from driving onto the tracks when a train is coming were open or closed. However, authorities have yet to announce whether the incident involved casualties.

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

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

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