PARIS — At least 42 people died Friday in a collision between a bus and a truck in southern France, according to a local government spokesman.
“It was a bus carrying elderly people,” Mael Gohaud, a spokesman for the Gironde Prefecture told CNN. “There are five people who are injured, and three people safe.”
French President Francois Hollande, in a statement issued by his office, offered condolences to those affected.
“It is a great tragedy,” Hollande said. He said the relatives of the victims could be assured of “the solidarity of the whole nation.”
BFMTV said this was France’s worst road accident since 1982. The Prime Minister, the minister of interior and transport secretary of state were all reported by the government to be headed to the scene of the accident.
The crash took place on the D17 highway in Puisseguin, near Bordeaux, in southern France, Gohaud, the local government spokesman, said.
Eight people “escaped the flames,” BFMTV, a CNN affiliate in France, reported.
The crash took place at 7:30 Friday morning, BFMTV reported. Most of the victims of the accident, which the TV station described on its website as a head-on collision on a narrow road, were on the bus. The driver of the truck was also killed, the station reported.
As far as authorities know, Gohaud told CNN, no children were involved in the crash.