The “terrible accident” that saw a school bus cut in two by an advancing train in France yesterday claimed the life of an 11-year-old Portuguese boy.
Five children were killed in the horror which is still being investigated.
Eighteen other people (14 of them children) are believed to have been injured, some of them very seriously.
It is not immediately clear why the school bus came to be in the path of the oncoming train outside Perpignan, in the south of the country.
Visibility was described as “good” at the time of the accident, and the level crossing itself is also very visible. Local councillor Carole Delga told the BBC that it had only just been upgraded and was in very good condition.
But an 11-year-old girl injured in the crash was quoted as saying the crossing’s barriers “had not come down”, and “the red lights that normally flash did not come on”.
The bus driver passed through the crossing, and then apparently “stopped half way, and that’s where the crash happened”, said the report.
Further details will come through as authorities release more information.
Last night reports explained that identifying the dead was taking time.
The accident happened yesterday afternoon about a mile from the Christian Bourquin College of Millas.
Four children died at the scene, and a fifth died later in hospital.
According to the BBC, the drivers of both vehicles survived, and they will now be being questioned.
The crash was “violent” said eye-witnesses, describing the train’s speed at around 50 km/h.