Four Children Killed In School Bus And Train Collision In France

Three dead after school bus hit by train at rail crossing in France

Emergency services have descended on the scene

Four children have died after a train collided with a school bus in southern France, the country's interior minister has confirmed.

Four children aged 12 or 13 died on Thursday in the collision, while 18 others and the bus driver were injured.

Nine other people on the bus and three on the train had less severe injuries.

Philippe said the "circumstances of this bad drama are still undetermined". The death toll rose to six Friday morning after two 11-year-old girls succumbed to their injures, a police source told the AFP news agency.

Photos from the scene showed the train derailed and the bus severely damaged.

Vignes told reporters overnight that investigators would look into reports that the batteries in the automatic train gate system had been stolen.

The bus was carrying around 20 pupils from the Christian-Bourquin school when it approached a crossing in the southern town of Millas and was hit Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.

French President Emmanuel Macron said France's full resources had been mobilized in the rescue of victims.

SNCF train official Gaelle Le Fauche told The Associated Press the train was carrying 25 people, including passengers and crew, and all were accounted for and being offered counseling. And a rail official said the barrier - which includes flashing lights - had been lowered at the time of the crash.

France's Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne, expressing her "very strong emotion following the awful accident", said she was on her way to the site.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer were at the scene Thursday evening along with 70 firefighters, 10 emergency ambulances and four helicopters.

"France is in mourning", Blanquer said on Twitter. "The state is fully mobilised to help them".

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