At least 26 people have been killed and a further 24 badly injured after a coach crashed off a mountain road near Grenoble in southeast France. Those on board were Polish pilgrims who had been visiting a religious site in the Alps. The vehicle was descending a steep incline when it smashed through safety barriers and plunged down a ravine. It then burst into flames.
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy offered his condolences to his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski when they travelled to the scene of the accident. The Polish authorities are considering declaring a period of national mourning.
It is not clear what caused the bus to go out of control but investigators are looking into its road worthiness and into whether its brakes were inadequate for such a mountainous route. It is not the first time a serious accident has occurred at the same spot. In 1973 a Belgian coach crashed there, killing 43 people.