Europe

Spain Erasmus student bus crash 'kills 13'

  • 20 March 2016
  • From the section Europe
Media captionFootage showed the bus on its side on the edge of the road

At least 13 people have been killed after a bus carrying foreign students crashed on a Spanish motorway between the cities of Barcelona and Valencia.

Most of the 57 people on board the bus were students on the Erasmus programme who were returning to Barcelona after a trip to a fireworks festival.

The accident occurred near Freginals, 150km (93 miles) south of Barcelona.

All of those who died were female, officials say.

Their nationalities have not been made public while the process of identification continues.

Those on board the bus included students from the UK, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Italy, Peru, Bulgaria, Poland, Ireland, the Palestinian territories, Japan and Ukraine, local Spanish officials said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The bus overturned after hitting a car travelling in the opposite direction
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The driver of the coach survived the crash

Of the 43 people injured, 28 were taken to hospital.

Jordi Jane, Catalonia's regional interior minister, said the driver of the coach had "hit the railing on the right and swerved to the left so violently that the bus veered onto the other side of the highway".

The bus then hit a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, injuring two people inside.

The location is a known accident blackspot.

"There were students on board, many of them foreign students studying in Catalonia and in Barcelona, who had travelled to Valencia for the Fallas and were returning," Mr Jane added.

British student Tallulah Lyons was taken to hospital in Tarragona with fractured vertebrae.

"I just remember waking up and people were on the floor," the 19-year-old from Swindon in Wiltshire told the BBC.

"I was trying to crawl out with friends - and that's when we realised some people were trapped. It took about two hours to get everyone out."

The driver of the bus survived the collision and has been taken to a local police station.

He has tested negative for alcohol or drugs and, according to sources close to the investigation quoted by Spain's Efe news agency, had worked for the bus company for 17 years without incident.

Emergencies Catalonia said those calling for further information about the bus crash from abroad should telephone +34 900400012.


Erasmus programme

  • European Union student exchange programme set up in 1987
  • Named after Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam
  • For many participants, Erasmus is their first time living and studying in another country

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Players of Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao observed a minute's silence in tribute to the victims of the crash

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