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french_motorwayA coach full of British schoolchildren and teachers returning from a half term ski trip to the Aosta Valley in Italy has crashed in northern France in the early hours of Sunday morning, killing a teacher and seriously injuring four others.

Peter Rippington, 59, was killed when the coach veered off the A26 motorway near Chalons-en-Champagne before hitting a motorway safety barrier and rolling into a ditch, coming to rest on its side on the embankment.

Along with the four seriously injured, a total of 27 passengers were taken to hospitals in Reims and Chalons to be treated for injuries.

The school group from Alvechurch Middle School, Worcestershire, were travelling with school travel specialist Interski. As well as the teachers and pupils on board the coach, there were six Interski ski instructors.

The driver is due before a French court later today. Police suspect he either fell asleep at the wheel or was taken ill. The BBC has reported that the driver has tested negative for alcohol and drugs, and the coach’s electronic log book, which records the number of hours driven, showed nothing unusual.

Interski has extended its sympathies to those involved in “this tragic incident”, and has been helping repatriate the victims.


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