Schoolchildren fly home after coach tragedy

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The Independent Online
Children and adults who survived the French coach crash which killed three teenagers were due back in Britain last night.

As the accident once more focused attention on the question of safety on school trips, those passed fit for travel by doctors flew back to Manchester airport.

Their school, St James's High in Bolton, Lancashire, has closed for the rest of the week, and other pupils now abroad are returning home early. A planned visit today to EuroDisney was cancelled.

Bunches of flowers bedecked the gates yesterday (above). Among the sympathy messages, one read simply: "To all my friends, you will always be in my mind."

Nicola Moore, 16, was killed instantly when the coach left the road near Notre-Dame du Pre on Monday morning and plunged 60 feet down a ravine.

Robert Boardman, 14, died on the operating table that afternoon and his best friend, Keith Ridding, also 14, became the third victim of the tragedy early yesterday. Others in the group of 16 British pupils and seven adults suffered mainly cuts and bruises.

Some were thrown from the coach, which was understood not to have had seatbelts.

David Bowes, the headmaster, said the school policy was to use vehicles that had seatbelts, as is required by law in Britain.

But the hired British coach broke down at the weekend and was replaced with a French one, driven by the same British driver, Jim Shaw.

Mr Shaw, 43, was interviewed in hospital by detectives yesterday.

Louise Jury and Agnes Severin