Pupil dies as Scottish coach crashes in France

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The Independent Online

A girl aged 15 was killed and nine other people were seriously injured today when a coach carrying schoolchildren from Scotland crashed in France.

A girl aged 15 was killed and nine other people were seriously injured today when a coach carrying schoolchildren from Scotland crashed in France.

Strathclyde police confirmed that the coach was carrying children from Largs Academy, a secondary school in Ayrshire, when it crashed near Dijon, about 200 miles south east of Paris, early this morning.

The Foreign Office said British officials were working with the French authorities to establish exactly what happened and next of kin were being contacted.

The coach party was to be en route to Barcelona as part of an annual summer trip. No other vehicle was thought to be involved.

Forty three people were on the bus, among them six adults, including two drivers. The injured were taken by helicopter ambulance to Auxerre and Dijon.

Six other pupils – four boys and two girls – and three teachers were also seriously injured. The injured children are two girls aged 15, a 14–year–old boy, two boys aged 13 and a boy of 12.

The three injured teachers were a 50–year–old woman and two men aged 34 and 43.

A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said all nine had "relatively serious injuries" but did not give any further details.

John Travers, North Ayrshire's director of education, said the pupils at the school were putting a brave face on events.

He said: "They are showing remarkable restraint and understanding.

"The atmosphere at the school assembly was emotional, but restrained. The children were being very brave about trying to make sure they didn't over react, but clearly they were very upset."

Mr Travers added: "Its always a shock when something like this happens. It is the worse thing that can happen in a school community.

"Understandably it is very difficult, but the school is trying to provide an atmosphere of security."

Scottish education minister Cathy Jamieson said the tragedy would have a devastating impact on the people of Largs.

She said: "This is devastating news for the families of the children involved and I know the impact this will have on what is a tight–knit school community.

"My thoughts are with the families of the children involved in the crash and also with everyone connected with the school, who will share their grief."

Ms Jamieson met French consul general Michel Roche in Edinburgh and told how he passed on his "deepest condolences" and said he would do all he could to help North Ayrshire Council and the school."

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