Collision Millas: Amount of Deaths increases to Five Dead

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The carcass of the school bus involved in a collision with a regional train in Millas, near Perpignan, December 15, 2017

Five children were killed in the collision between a train and a bus in Millas Thursday, said the Pyrénées-Orientales prefecture.

Five deaths have now to deplore in the accident between a car and a TER, which occurred Thursday, December 14 at Millas near Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales). The prefecture has given a new record on Friday at 2.30pm.

Eight children were seriously injured and are still between life and death. In all, 18 people were injured in the collision, including 14 children.

“The crossing operated normally,” according to the SNCF

Were the barriers of the crossing open, leaving the conductive bus rush on the road, or were they closed? Only the driver of the TER could be heard for now, the driver, aged 48 and used the buses Faur, who was seriously injured in the accident.

It was shortly after 4pm on Thursday when the school bus with children aboard the twenty-Christian Bourquin college in Millas, crossed the level crossing No. 25. Behind a second bus was about to follow.

SNCF said Thursday that “according to witnesses, the crossing operated normally, but it is obvious that this is confirmed by the investigation.”

This is a “classic” crossing with automatic signaling and two gates, which “was not considered particularly dangerous,” she said.

“Barrier lifting,” according to witnesses

“There was good visibility,” confirmed Carole Delga, president of the Occitan region. “This crossing then was not really dangerous (…) and there were no technical alert,” said she said on Europe 1.

A student father, Samuel Conegero, however, said, based on a photo taken by his son, “the barrier (was) fully raised and there (was) no broken barrier.”

“There was a raised barrier”, also said on BFM TV Robert Taillant, the mayor of Saint-Féliu d’Avall, where lived the majority of victims.

“It is based on rumor and hearsay + +”, said Friday AFP the prosecutor, Jean-Jacques Fagni. “I could respond seriously when will be made serious technical inspection,” the results are not expected on Friday, he said.

“We will obviously study all malfunctions of any kind and it will take time, we put in place large local, regional and national resources,” said AFP Colonel Jean Valery Letterman, deputy commander of the region gendarmerie, head of the former Languedoc Roussillon.

Several investigations

The prosecutor Fagni, which opened an investigation for “involuntary homicide and injuries,” before the accident division of the Marseille court specializing in collective accidents, including magistrates moved on the scene.

In addition to an investigation of the SNCF, an administrative investigation was also opened by the Survey Office Accidents (BEA), responsible for air and rail dramas, including experts are expected Friday in Millas.

On the site of the disaster, the Regional Express Train and bus gutted, the carcass cut in two by the violence of the shock still lies on the railway, were placed under seal for consideration by thirty investigators from the Brigade Perpignan gendarmerie research, reinforced by the research Section of Montpellier.

The scene of the accident is “frozen,” says does one source close to the matter. By the time three experts IRCGM, the Forensic Institute of the gendarmerie in Pontoise, conduct measurements with lasers to model and reconstruct 3D scene of the accident.

“Everyone has been marked and the trauma will last,” said the Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on his return from Millas.

“It is essential that we can make the light,” said Benjamin GRIVEAUX, spokesman for the government, so that “in the future, on the 15,000 crossings of France, this type of tragic event can not happen again. ”

An employee inspects the SNCF regional train involved in a collision with a school bus in Millas, near Perpignan, December 15, 2017
An employee inspects the SNCF regional train involved in a collision with a school bus in Millas, near Perpignan, December 15, 2017 (© AFP / RAYMOND ROIG)

“Putting words”

The job of identifying victims, long and difficult given the state of some of them, was completed in the night.

In the small rural town of Millas, in shock, the college reopened.

“It’s too hard,” said AFP Sabrina Mesas, a mother in tears. “It is important that they are together, they can talk, put words to what happened.”

College students were greeted by a medico-psychological unit of sixty people composed of psychologists, nurses or social workers.

The collision of Millas is one of the most serious accidents to children transport from Beaune drama in 1982 (53 dead including 44 children).

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