Western Daily Press
Fear probe into coach crash that injured pupils may be closed
AN investigation into a coach crash that left nearly 50 pupils from a West school injured is in danger of being closed without any answers.
Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has said he is “deeply disappointed” after receiving news that an investigation into the Bournside School coach crash could be closed.
On July 23, 2016, the Express Motors coach crashed into a ditch on a French motorway near the Swiss border. It left 15 people injured, including two pupils seriously injured, one of whom was in a coma.
An investigation into the crash, which began in 2016 and involved pupils from the school in the Gloucestershire town, has been recommended to be closed by French authorities.
Mr Chalk said the news comes as a “bitter blow” to the students and teachers who were affected.
Writing in the Gloucestershire Echo Mr Chalk said: “Although the final decision rests with the public prosecutor, it seems likely that the probe will be wound up shortly.
“This information, which came from the Foreign Office in response to my latest inquiry to the French authorities, comes as a bitter blow.
“I am deeply disappointed by it, on behalf of the students and teachers who I know continue to be affected by what happened that day. They rightly want answers.”
Headmaster for Cheltenham Bournside School Steve Jefferies said in a statement: “We are disappointed by the decision made by the French authorities to close the inquiry”.
In his column, Mr Chalk added:
“Initial police investigations suggested that driver fatigue may have played a part, and in 2017 the driver of the bus was handed a six-week ban by a UK tribunal from carrying passengers, for failing to take a sufficient break before setting off for Italy.
“As for the French proceedings, these were opened promptly but have since made little apparent progress.
“I have asked for consular officials at the British Consulate in Marseille to continue to keep me updated.”