At least 42 dead in France traffic accident

At least 42 people, most of them elderly, were killed when a coach collided with a truck in southwestern France early Friday, a fire service official says.

All but one of the victims were passengers on the coach, while the other fatality was the driver of the truck, local authorities in the prefecture of Gironde said.

The two vehicles collided head-on near the village of Puisseguin north of Bordeaux. The crash is the deadliest in France since 1982.

“The French government has fully mobilized after this terrible tragedy,” President Francois Hollande said from Athens, where he is on an official visit.

Five passengers — who managed to escape from the coach, which had caught fire — sustained light injuries. Three others were unharmed, local authorities said.

Several emergency vehicles were dispatched to the scene.

The coach, which was carrying 49 passengers and a driver, had departed early Friday from a village near the site of the accident to take its elderly passengers out on an excursion.

A resident tells TV channel I-tele that the crash occurred at a turn known to locals as dangerous.

— AFP

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