Driver held after teacher dies in ski-trip coach crash


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The Independent Online

A British coach driver was arrested in France yesterday after a bus carrying schoolchildren returning to Worcestershire from a half-term skiing trip careered off a motorway, killing a teacher and injuring 23 others.

The bus, carrying 29 pupils and 18 adults from a middle school in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, crashed though a barrier and overturned down a small embankment on the motorway near Reims in northern France early yesterday. No other vehicles were involved.

The teacher was named as Peter Rippington, 59. The ski trip was to have been his last before he retired. His wife, Sharon, was also seriously injured in the crash while their daughter, Amy, escaped with minor injuries. A 13-year-old girl was in critical condition.

The British driver was treated in hospital for minor injuries and then arrested by police yesterday afternoon as they investigated what caused the coach to leave the road at about 3am in good driving conditions.

The injured 13-year-old girl was flown to Paris for an emergency operation. Four others, including three children, were also seriously injured. The remainder escaped with cuts and bruises.

The schoolchildren had been on a skiiing trip in Italy's Aosta Valley.

The tour operators, Interski, said those who had not been badly injured were being cared for at a sports complex by the French Red Cross.