France charges Spanish coach crash driver

French prosecutors on Monday charged a Spanish coach driver with reckless endangerment after he drove the vehicle under a low bridge, causing the roof to be shorn off and seriously injuring six passengers.

France charges Spanish coach crash driver
The coach carrying Spanish youngsters that crashed in France. Photo: AFP

The 59-year-old driver has been charged with causing “involuntary injuries” through “manifestly deliberate violation of a duty of care or safety”, Lille public prosecutor Frederic Fevre told AFP.

The coach was taking 53 Spanish youths and their chaperones to Amsterdam when the pre-dawn accident occurred outside Lille on Sunday.

The coach, with two drivers, was on lease from July 25 to August 1, during which time the holidaymakers were to lodge at a camping ground and make a number of excursions from Amsterdam.

The youths, aged between 18 and 29, had boarded the coach in the Spanish Basque city of Bilbao.

The entire top of the coach was shorn off in the accident, leaving 34 passengers in need of medical attention including six with serious injuries.

A Lille hospital source said their lives are not in danger.

Spain's ambassador to France visited the injured early Monday.

The driver, who had a reputation as a competent professional, faces further penalties because he did not have the right to drive on the road where the accident took place, Fevre said.

Fevre said he was devastated by the accident and insisted that he had followed his GPS navigator.

Police said the driver had not taken the normal route for unknown reasons.

Authorities said testing for alcohol or drugs had come up negative, while the coach's data recorder was taken for analysis.

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33 hurt after Paris to London Flixbus overturns in northern France

Thirty-three people were injured on Sunday, four seriously, when a bus travelling between Paris and London overturned in northern France while turning off a busy motorway, police said.

33 hurt after Paris to London Flixbus overturns in northern France
Photo: AFP

The Flixbus vehicle toppled on its side around midday (1100 GMT) as it took an exit from the A1 motorway, France's busiest route, a police statement said. 

There were 33 people on board, of whom 29 sustained light injuries and four were seriously wounded. Some of the injured were foreign nationals.

READ ALSO 'Cheap but poor customer care' – what readers think of Flixbus services

The statement did not say whether the bus was bound for London or for Paris. Rescue teams from the police, fire brigade, and ambulance service rushed to the scene.

The motorway exit has been closed, the statement said.

According to the newspaper “Courrier Picard”, the bus skidded in a curve on the wet road, crashed into a barrier and overturned.

It is yet another incident for the embattled German brand, with several crashes across Europe so far in 2019. 

READ: Seven people injured after two Flixbus accidents in Germany

In October, one person was killed and 17 injured when a Flixbus rolled in Southern France. 

Several people were injured in two separate crashes in Germany in June, while one person was killed and 60 injured in a crash in Switzerland in May.