|Bordeaux Ambulances attending the crash site|
42 people have been killed in a head-on collision between a truck (Camión) carrying a heavy load of wood, and a coach near Bordeaux in southwest France. The impact caused both vehicles to catch fire. Ambulances, 60 firefighters and several air ambulances are attending.
Emergency services and 60 firefighters are fighting the blaze. The victims are French pensioners, on a day trip to Bearn. Initial reports suggest there are eight survivors, three seriously hurt, the other five suffered minor injuries, say local sources but the position could change.
The truck driver and his young son, who was riding in the cab, died. The coach driver survived, and realising the crash was about to happen - the oncoming truck having slewed over and positioned directly in front of the coach - managed to open the hydraulically operated coach doors moments before impact, enabling some of the pensions to escape.
Early this morning the coach left the village of Petit-Palais the crash happened around 7.30 am near Puisseguin, just 20 minutes into the journey.
A local resident said the collision happened in the area of the Fontaine du Renard, on a well known highly dangerous bend, situated at the foot of a hill, then a bump, over a bridge in an area surrounded by vinyards.
The road at that point is said to be narrow and two way traffic tends to hog the crown of the road. Close to Libourne, in the Gironde department, on the D17 between Bordeaux and Bergerac.
President Francois Hollande, who is in Greec,e said the French government was "totally moved by this terrible tragedy".
Prime Minister Manuel Valls and senior government ministers are on their way to the accident site.
Source: AFP, CNS,
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