Moroccan death coach driver held for manslaughter

28th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

POITIERS, France June 26 (AFP) - One of the drivers of a bus that crashed in western France on Tuesday killing 11 people was detained by French police overnight Saturday after being placed under investigation for manslaughter.

POITIERS, France June 26 (AFP) - One of the drivers of a bus that crashed in western France on Tuesday killing 11 people was detained by French police overnight Saturday after being placed under investigation for manslaughter.

Police said on Saturday that the man, aged 49, a Moroccan national, has been accused of "manslaughter and accidental wounding, aggravated by a clear violation of safety obligations." He has not been named.

Meanwhile a judicial investigation has begun to try to determine the legal position of the Kabbour company which operated the bus and which is based in the Moroccan city of Tangiers.

The coach was on a journey from Belgium to Morocco when the accident happened in poor weather near the town of Liguge, just south of Poitiers. Thirty-nine others passengers were injured in the crash, 12 of them seriously.

The local prosecutor's office said on Saturday that the driver's version of how the bus crashed did not tally with the version given by the surviving passengers, who claim he lost control of the vehicle after overtaking a lorry.

After veering back into his lane the bus hit a barrier before rolling over onto its side, they allege.

The driver contends however that the accident was caused by a car that was trying to overtake his bus.

The prosecutor's office also announced it would investigate the "legal and technical conditions" surrounding the Kabbour company's travel service.

An aide to Belgian Transport Minister Bert Anciaux told AFP on Thursday that the Kabbour company was not licensed to carry passengers.

The company had already come to the attention of Belgian authorities two months ago when one of its drivers was stopped and had to pay a fine for lacking the permit, said the aide, Frank Van Thillo.

The French investigating magistrate is also expected to examine the bus's black box for further clues on the circumstances of the accident, the prosecutor's office said.

The Poitiers crash on Thursday dominated front-pages of Belgian newspapers, which attacked "pirates of the road" who undercut legitimate bus operators by flouting safety standards.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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