Gloucestershire

Cheltenham school pupils injured in France coach crash

Crash scene Image copyright @paulette59553

Two school pupils have been seriously injured and another 13 people hurt in a coach crash in eastern France.

The coach, carrying pupils from Bournside School in Cheltenham, went into a ditch on the A39 motorway at Lons-le-Saunier, near the Swiss border.

There were 42 students, six staff and two drivers on board.

Two of the pupils were airlifted to hospital, one in a life-threatening condition and the other in a serious condition, the school said.

A further 10 students, one member of staff and the drivers were treated for minor injuries nearer the scene.

Image copyright @paulette59553

The coach, operated by Caernarfon-based Express Motors, was heading to Italy where the students, who are aged between 14 and 18, were going for a camping trip.

A statement on the school website said: "We were deeply saddened to hear of a serious incident involving the coach taking our students to Dora Baltea. Our hearts go out to all those involved."

The school said it had met the parents of the two seriously injured students, who were now on their way to France.

Gareth Burton, the school's acting head, said he hoped most of the children would return home on Sunday to be with their parents, whose reaction to the crash he praised.

"Parents have been superb, absolutely super," he said.

"I mean it's been really difficult, I have to say, in terms of trying to respond to a wide range of parents who are exceptionally worried and anxious about their children who are many miles from home.

"But parents have been super, really understanding, really supportive, we've had so many people offer to lend a hand where needed. I'm just really grateful."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to a group of British nationals following a coach crash in France. We are in contact with the relevant local authorities."

The coach company said it was doing everything it could to contact its drivers and designated tour leaders, who would then be doing everything they could to help.

French police said no other vehicles were involved and the road had been closed.

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