School bus crash driver says level crossing was not working

An ambulance at the scene

Six children have died after a horror crash in France cut their bus in half on their way home from school.

Investigators told the agency that witnesses reported the train crossing?s barriers were working normally, and that it is unclear whether a technical malfunction of human error was responsible for the tragedy.

The collision happened at a level crossing at Millas - near the town of Perpignan - at 4pm on Thursday afternoon and has left at least 19 people injured.

Casualties were being taken to hospital in Perpignan.

Weather conditions were reported to be good. Local authorities said another child had succumbed to injuries on Friday morning.

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Rail operator SNCF has modernised level crossings across France in recent years, following numerous accidents, the BBC's Chris Bockman reports from Toulouse.

The French prime minister Edouard Phillipe arrived at the scene around 8pm. "It is an appalling tragedy", she said.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne described it as a "terrible accident" and said on Twitter that she was heading to the scene - around 530 miles from Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the news by tweeting: "All my thoughts are with the victims of this bad accident of a school bus and with their families. The state is fully mobilised to help them".

Counsellors are also setting up at a local sports hall.

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