Two British pupils remain in hospital after coach crashes in France


Two British schoolchildren remain in hospital after being badly injured when a coach full of pupils crashed in France near the Swiss border.

The two students, one described as in a life-threatening condition and the other in a serious condition, were airlifted to hospital from the crash site on the A39 motorway at Lons-le-Saunier.

A further 10 students and one member of staff from Cheltenham Bournside School received minor injuries and were treated in hospital before being discharged.

French Police are investigating whether the coach driver fell asleep behind the wheel of the vehicle, which had 42 students, six staff and two drivers on board at the time of the crash on Saturday.

Bournside's acting headteacher, Gareth Burton, told the BBC the badly injured students' parents were due to arrive in Geneva late on Saturday night.

He told the broadcaster: "There were a number of students who didn't receive any injury at all; we had 10 students who received minor injuries and they are currently receiving treatment for those.

"But obviously the most serious, of which there were two, had to be airlifted to hospital, and our thoughts and prayers at this time go out to those two students and their families and friends, and obviously those students who know them."

He added that the uninjured and lightly injured would remain in France overnight but should return to Britain on Sunday, saying: "We are working really hard to repatriate them as quickly as possible."

Operated by Caernarfon-based Express Motors, the coach had left the UK on Friday and was making its way to Italy for a week's camping trip.

Their destination was Dora Baltea, a river in northern Italy that rises near Mont Blanc and joins the Po near Turin. It is popular for white-water rafting and kayaking.

A school spokesman had earlier said: "Two of the students were airlifted to hospital, one in a life-threatening condition and another in a serious condition.

"The school have met with the parents of these two students, who are now on their way to France to be with their children."

The statement from the school said the remaining students and staff were with police, later adding: "Accommodation for the night and breakfast has been arranged. We are discussing return to the UK with the French authorities."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to a group of British nationals following a coach crash in France. We are in contact with the relevant local authorities."