Seven dead in French bus crash
A bus carrying Moroccan passengers crashed on a motorway in central France, leaving seven dead and seven others seriously injured.23 May 2008
BLOIS - Seven people were killed and seven seriously injured when a bus carrying Moroccan passengers crashed Friday on a motorway in central France, authorities said.
The accident happened in the early hours on the A10 motorway near the city of Blois when the coach, carrying 32 passengers en route to the Paris region, left the road and hit a pillar supporting a bridge.
Four of the injured were said to be in critical condition while 18 other passengers suffered minor injuries, according to officials from the Blois municipality.
Four helicopters, 140 firefighters and 25 police were dispatched to the site of the accident to help dislodge the victims from the wreckage. Officials said half of the bus was wrapped around the pillar.
"The incredible state of the bus showed that the impact was extremely violent," said Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau who toured the site of the accident early Friday.
The head of the Loir-et-Cher region, Pierre Pouessel, told AFP the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel but he added that this was one of many leads being investigated.
There was little traffic on the motorway when the bus crashed at 2:50 am (0050 GMT) and the skies were clear.
Investigators were to check for a possible mechanical defect in the bus that was pulling a trailer.
The bus, leased by the French Aziz company, had left Tiznit in southern Morocco on Wednesday and was en route to the Paris suburb of Les Mureaux.
Aziz manager Abdelhouad Hais said his company leased buses to tourists and small traders travelling from Morocco to France. Hais told AFP he was in Morocco and had not received any information about the crash.
[AFP / Expatica]