Fatal bus crash suspect had ‘paranoid delusions’

A Ukrainian man who caused a fatal bus crash in southern France by grabbing the wheel from the driver, was suffering from delusional paranoia, and feared he was being transported to his death in Spain, officials said on Tuesday.

Fatal bus crash suspect had 'paranoid delusions'
The Eurolines bus which crashed near Fitou in Aude, southern France on Sunday, killing two people. Photo: PH Le Blanc/AFP

Two people died on Sunday when the 29-year-old man grabbed the coach's steering wheel, forcing it to swerve off the A9 highway during a journey from the southern French city of Marseille to Murcia in Spain. 

Two of the 41 passengers died and 30 were injured in the accident near Fitou, close to the border between the two countries.

The man, whose identity has not been made public, appeared to believe he was being taken to Spain to be killed and attempted to get the driver to stop the coach, Narbonne prosecutor David Charmatz said.

"When the driver refused, it simply confirmed his belief that he was the victim of a conspiracy," the prosecutor added.

The man is in custody undergoing further psychiatric assessment following a preliminary finding that his mental state had strongly affected, if not eliminated, his capacity for judgement, making it unlikely that he will face criminal proceedings.

Prior to boarding the coach in Marseille, the Ukrainian had attempted to enlist with the French Foreign Legion at its headquarters in Aubagne on the outskirts of the port.

"He underwent tests but the Legion didn't want him," Charmatz said.

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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.