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  1. ITV Report

Four children killed in crash between school bus and train in France

Rescue workers at the scene. Credit: Matthieu Ferri/France Bleu via AP

Four children have been killed and at least 20 others have been critically injured in a crash between a train and a school bus in southern France.

The country's interior ministry confirmed a further nine people were less seriously injured in the crash.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne are travelling to the site of the crash near to the town of Perpignan, around 20 miles north of France's border with Spain.

Mr Philippe said that the "circumstances of this terrible drama are still undetermined" and that two inquiries into what happened are underway.

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Photos from the scene tweeted by French media showed the train derailed and the bus shorn in half.

Ms Borne described the crash as a “terrible accident”.

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The crash happened at around 4pm local time (3pm GMT) as the 20 children on the bus - who are aged between 11 and 15 - were being taken home from the Christian Bourquin school in the village of Millas at the end of the day.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "All my thoughts go to the victims of this terrible accident and their families. The government is fully mobilised to give them emergency help."

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Emergency services at the scene of the crash. Credit: Twitter/Fabian Ciobanu

“All emergency services have been mobilised and a crisis coordination unit set up,” an official at the local Millas townhall said.

A spokesperson for the regional train service said that the train had been travelling at around 50mph with 25 people were on board at the time of the crash.

The SNCF spokesperson added that three of those on the train were slightly injured.

They continued that witnesses at the scene described the railway crossing gates as functioning properly, while regional President Carole Delga told French media that "it appears that there was no mechanical problem at this crossing."

Some 70 firefighters were sent to the site of the crash, along with 10 ambulances and four helicopters.

Video on social media showed a long line of ambulances and emergency services vehicles near the crossing where the crash happened.

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