6 Students Killed in Bus-Train Crash in France

Thomas McMahon
Posted on December 18, 2017

MILLAS, France — A crash between a bus carrying students and a train here on Thursday caused multiple fatalities and injuries, authorities said.

The French Ministry of the Interior said in a press release that the bus was carrying 23 passengers when it was struck by the regional express train around 4 p.m.

The crash occurred at a railroad crossing in Millas, a village in southern France near the border with Spain.

Ninety-five firefighters and 15 police units were dispatched to the scene, according to the Ministry of the Interior. Medical and psychological emergency services and civil security associations were mobilized to support the families affected by the crash.

Photos from the scene show the coach-type bus split in two over the train tracks:

The AFP news agency reported on Sunday that five children were killed and 20 people were injured in the crash.

On Monday, a Pyrénées-Orientales state official said in a press release that another victim had died, bringing the death toll to six.

At issue in the investigation is whether the safety barriers at the railroad crossing were open or closed when the bus moved onto the tracks.

"There are witnesses who say the barrier was closed and others who say it was open. We have not finished the investigation," state prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said, according to AFP.

The news agency also reported that the bus driver told her employer that the crossing barriers were open.

The students on the bus were on their way home from the Christian Bourquin school in Millas. The French minister of national education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, visited the school on Friday morning to support students, families, and the educational community.

The Ministry of National Education said in a press release that Blanquer “expresses his immense sadness after the school bus accident in Millas. … He sends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones.”

Blanquer also addressed the tragedy on Twitter, saying in one post that “La France est en deuil.” Translation: “France is in mourning.”

Related Topics: fatalities, railroad crossing, school bus crash

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 4 )
  • Steve Carlson

     | about 2 months ago

    So sad. Interesting to hear reports of arms up from some and arms down from others. The BBC station reported it was stopped on the tracks. I dont see how this would ever be acceptable to stop on a crossing, even for a second with the speed of trains abroad. My sympathies are with the families, students and staff.

  • See all comments
More Stories

Mirror, Backup Camera System

The new MOR-Vision convex series is engineered to improve the safety of reverse operations by providing a wider field of view, according to Rosco Vision Systems.

A story on Jefferson County (Ky.) Public Schools' pilot program that pays school bus drivers and special-needs assistants a $200 bonus for every pay period they come to work every day received the most likes and reactions on SBF's Facebook in 2017. Photo by John Horton

Top 5 Likes/Reactions on SBF’s Facebook Page in 2017

Stories on a cash incentive based on attendance, a principal/substitute bus driver studying for his doctorate, and an accident that hospitalized students and a bus driver drew the most attention on the popular social media platform this year. 

Venecia Bisono of New York was arrested after allegedly leaving a 4-year-old on a school bus for six hours. She was charged with failure to exercise control of a minor and reckless endangerment. Photo by John Horton

Aide Accused of Leaving Student on School Bus

Venecia Bisono of New York is arrested after allegedly leaving a 4-year-old on a school bus for six hours. She is charged with failure to exercise control of a minor and reckless endangerment.

A news story about Collins' new low-floor bus with an integrated wheelchair ramp was the fourth most-viewed news story on the SBF website this year.

Top 5 Most-Viewed News Stories of 2017

News that drew the most traffic on the School Bus Fleet website this year covered an attendance-based cash incentive, Collins’ new low-floor bus, and student fatalities in the danger zone.  

An article about purchasing a used school bus was the most-viewed feature on the SBF website this year. Photo by Barry Johnson

Top 5 Most-Viewed Feature Articles of 2017

Feature articles that drew the most traffic on the School Bus Fleet website in 2017 included tips on buying a used school bus and an immigrant’s journey from cab driver to running a school bus company.

Dean Transportation's video on the use of virtual reality technology to supplement training and provide more of a “real-world” experience was one of the standout videos posted on SBF's website in 2017.

Editor’s Picks 2017: Videos of the Year

A demonstration of virtual reality technology used in training and a PSA with kids playing motorists who passed stopped school buses were among SBF’s web highlights in 2017.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!