Hereford & Worcester

PM tribute to Alvechurch ski trip coach crash victims

Peter Rippington, who was killed in the coach crash, and his wife, Sharon
Image caption Peter Rippington's wife Sharon, was also injured in the crash

The prime minister has paid tribute to the victims of a coach crash, in which a Worcestershire teacher was killed.

Peter Rippington, 59, a teacher at Alvechurch School, died and more than 20 people were hurt in Sunday's crash in northern France.

Pupils and parents were among those returning from a skiing trip when their coach went down a motorway embankment.

David Cameron said Mr Rippington was "much respected in the local community".

He added that consulate staff were working to support those still in France.

The prime minister was responding to a question in the House of Commons from Conservative MP for Bromsgrove Sajid Javid.

Mr Cameron said: "The thoughts and sincere condolences I'm sure of everyone in the House will be with my honourable friend's constituents and everyone who's been affected.

"Our ambassador Sir Peter Ricketts has visited passengers in hospital, is liaising with local authorities and we'll do everything we can with the French authorities to get people safely home."

The Foreign and Commonwealth office refused to confirm the number of people still in France, but the majority of the 49 people on board the coach have returned to the UK.

The coach was one of two from Alvechurch School returning from a skiing trip in Val d'Aosta, Italy.

With boys and girls split between the two coaches, it was the girls' coach that went down an embankment off the A26 motorway near Rheims at about 02:30 GMT on Sunday.

On Tuesday driver Derek Thompson, 47, was charged with involuntary manslaughter by French prosecutors.

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