Europe

France school bus crash: Driver charged with manslaughter

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Media captionFootage of emergency vehicles at the scene of the crash

The driver of a school bus in France that was hit by a train on a level crossing, killing six children, has been charged with manslaughter.

Appearing before judges, the 48-year-old woman repeated that the barriers to the crossing were open when the train hit the bus last week.

She was "placed under judicial control and banned from driving", prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said.

The investigation has suggested the barriers were closed.

Local media reported that the driver, who has injured in the collision, was taken to a hospital after the hearing in the southern city of Perpignan. Her lawyer said she was in "great distress".

The investigation has focused on whether a malfunction of the safety barrier, on the crossing between Millas and Saint-FĂ©liu-d'Amont, caused the collision.

Rail operator SNCF said the barrier had been functioning normally, though witness accounts varied.

The bus had picked up pupils from a secondary school in Millas before it was hit by the train travelling at about 80km/h (50mph).

At least 18 other people were injured, and five were still in critical condition.

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