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British and French authorities work together to find cause of school coach crash in France

The French police authorities and the Foreign Office are investigating the coach crash abroad which killed a teacher from Worcestershire and has left a British schoolgirl in intensive care at a Paris hospital.

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The crash happened in the early hours of Sunday morning as teachers and pupils from Alvechurch School in Worcestershire were travelling back from a school skiing trip at the Italian resort of Valle d’Aosta, which was arranged by school trip company.

The coach was carrying 19 adults and 29 children, including two extra drivers. It left the road at Chalons-en-Champagne in northern France. Teacher Peter Rippington, 59, died in the crash and more than 20 others were injured.

The driver has tested negative for alcohol and drugs and French police are investigating the possibility he fell asleep at the wheel.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has confirmed that the Foreign Office is working closely with the French authorities to discover the cause of the crash.

The coach log book, which records the number of driving hours, has shown that everything appeared normal on the school trip.

What they have to say...

The school trip company has posted a statement on its website:

“An accident occurred at 02.30 hours on the morning of 19/02/12 at Chalon en Champagne. A coach returning to the UK from the Aosta Valley, Italy, left the motorway and came to rest at the bottom of an embankment.

"We are saddened and distressed to report the death of a party leader. Our thoughts are with the bereaved family and friends, to whom we offer our sincere condolences. We also extend our sympathy to the four seriously injured passengers, to twenty-two passengers with minor injuries and to all others involved in this tragic incident.”

Dated: 21/02/2012

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