British father killed with two children in French motorway crash may have fallen asleep at the wheel

A third child and a woman, thought to be the mother, are seriously injured

John Lichfield
Sunday 24 April 2016 18:56 BST
The causes of the crash are unknown
The causes of the crash are unknown (FranceTV)

Three members of a British family, including two children, have died when their car veered off a motorway in eastern France.

Two children aged four and 10 and a man aged 31, who local media are reporting is the father, died instantly in the horrific accident on the A39 motorway at Beaurepaire-en-Bresse between Dijon and Bourg-en-Bresse.

Investigators have apparently suggested the man may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

A woman and third child, aged three, were seriously injured and flown to hospital by helicopter.

French gendarmerie sources said the child was critically ill and the woman – presumed to be the mother of the family – less seriously injured. The gendarmerie declined to name the victims until next of kin had been informed.

The British-registered Nissan car was travelling south-east when it left the road at around 7.30 am local time this morning. No other vehicle is believed to have been involved.

Gendarmeries sources said other drivers saw the car cross the hard shoulder, strike a parapet and fall down a grassy bank onto a slip road. The vehicle then caught fire.

The motorway was closed in both directions for four hours after the crash. Emergency workers who attended the scene were offered psychological counselling.

Helicopters flew the injured woman and child to hospital in Lyon.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing assistance following a road traffic accident in France, in which three British nationals have sadly died and two others have been hospitalised.

"We are working closely with local authorities and supporting the families at this difficult time."

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