Gloucestershire

France coach crash driver 'looking for his sunglasses'

The crashed coach in France
Image caption The coach had 42 students, six staff and two drivers on board

The driver of a coach full of British pupils that crashed in France has told investigators he came off the road while looking for his sunglasses.

But prosecutors said his explanation was not very convincing and believe the driver, who is now being formally investigated, fell asleep at the wheel.

The majority of pupils at the school in Cheltenham have returned home.

But two seriously injured teenagers remain in hospital in Besançon, near the border with Switzerland.

One is said to be in a life-threatening condition following the crash on Saturday.

Reunited with parents

They received emergency surgery following the crash in the eastern Jura region of France, while 10 other pupils were treated for minor injuries and discharged from hospital.

Local prosecutor Jean-Luc Lennon told broadcaster France 3 he did not find the driver's explanation very convincing as it did not fit with the circumstances of the crash.

The driver, 51, is expected to be charged in relation to the crash, according to the channel.

Bournside School in Cheltenham said its students were reunited with their parents back in England at 01:00 BST.

"Our thoughts remain with the two students and their parents who are still in France," a school spokeswoman said.

Image copyright @paulette59553
Image caption The French authorities are investigating whether the driver fell asleep

The coach was carrying 42 students, six staff and two drivers when it went into a ditch on the A39 motorway at Lons-le-Saunier.

The group was heading to Italy where the students, aged between 14 and 18, were going on a camping trip.

Police said no other vehicles were involved.

The Caernarfon-based coach operator, Express Motors, said on Saturday it was doing everything it could "to help accident teams with their investigations and inquiries".

A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said: "Both drivers remain in France and both drivers have been interviewed by police."

"One is still helping police with their inquiries," he added.

Image caption The coach crashed on the A39 motorway at Lons-le-Saunier

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