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Four children dead and several people injured as train collides with a school bus in France

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A school bus and a regional train have collided in southern France, killing four children and critically injuring seven other people on the bus, the French interior ministry said.

Photos from the scene tweeted by a local television station showed the train derailed and the bus shorn in half.

Nine other people on the school bus and three on the train had less severe injuries.

It happened on a railway crossing in the small village of Millas some nine miles west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.

Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer were at the scene along with 70 firefighters, 10 emergency ambulances and four helicopters.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was en route.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “All my thoughts go to the victims of this terrible accident and their families. The government is fully mobilised to give them emergency help.”

France’s SNCF national rail authority said witnesses described the crossing gates as functioning properly at the time the train crashed into the bus.

An SNCF official said the train normally travels at 80km per hour at the location of the crash near Perpignan.

The official said “several witnesses said the barrier was down” at the time of the crash. She said 25 people were on the train at the time and are “totally shocked”.

She said that the crossing is “well-equipped” with flashing lights and the latest technology. She said it would be up to an investigation to determine whether everything functioned properly at the time of the accident this evening.

 French authorities say four children have died in a “serious rail accident” in southern France involving a school bus and a regional train.

The Pyrenees-Orientales authority tweeted that the collision occurred this afternoon on a railway crossing at a small town about nine miles west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.

Nineteen others are injured.

A transport minister’s called it a ‘terrible accident’.

Emergency services have been deployed to the site of the accident.

Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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