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Road traffic collision claims 43 lives in France 

In the early hours of Friday, October 23, 2015, a traffic accident between a timber transportation truck and a coach carrying people caused 43 casualties, burned alive, including the three-year-old son of the truck driver, writes Editorial Advisory Panel Member Christophe Libeau.

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Ugo Amez/SIPA/REX Shutterstock

Many of the other victims were elderly coach passengers on an excursion and this crash has caused an immense outpouring of emotion in the villages of Bordeaux, where these elderly people lived.

The facts arennow known and have recently been made public by the prosecutor in charge to allow a better understanding of how the collision between the two vehicles caused such an extreme blaze.

The truck was travelling up the district road 17, which leads to the village of Puisseguin, after many turns. It seems that it veered off the left hand carriageway on a bend, for reasons still unknown. At the exit of the bend, the coach, though travelling at a slow pace, collided with the cab of the truck.

The force of the collision led a metal rod in the cab to pierce the truck's bodywork and perforate its additional fuel tank, located just behind the cab. 

A nebulisation, that is to say a cloud of fine fuel droplets, was created, instantly spreading around the two damaged vehicles and igniting immediately, causing a widespread flash that engulfed the two vehicles. Within seconds the hot gases expanded, pyrolizing and burning all items nearby. The fierce blaze consumed both vehicles, trapping the passengers in the coach, asphyxiating and burning them. 

This is France's second most deadly accident, after the 1982 Beaune incident, which caused 53 casualties, including 44 children. The villages of Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps were most affected by the tragedy, while Lussac, Camps-sur-l'Isle, Saint-Sauveur-de-Puynormand, Porchères, Saint-Médard-de-Guizières are also mourning their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends, a generation of elders who were so abruptly taken away. 

Christophe Libeau, 29/10/2015
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