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Thirteen people dead and two Irish among those injured after student coach crash in Spain

By Claire Williamson

Published 20/03/2016

Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, March 20, 2016. The bus was reportedly hired out to carry students to and from a fireworks festival in Valencia and was on the return leg of its journey when the accident happened. (AP Photo)
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, March 20, 2016. The bus was reportedly hired out to carry students to and from a fireworks festival in Valencia and was on the return leg of its journey when the accident happened. (AP Photo)
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, Spain, March 20, 2016. The bus was reportedly hired out to carry students to and from a fireworks festival in Valencia and was on the return leg of its journey when the accident happened. (AP Photo)
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, March 20, 2016. A bus carrying university students back from a fireworks festival crashed Sunday on a main highway in northeastern Spain, killing 14 passengers and injuring 30 others, a Catalonian official said. (AP Photo)
Emergency services personnel stand at the scene of a bus accident crashed on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona early Sunday, March 20, 2016. A bus carrying university students back from a fireworks festival crashed Sunday on a main highway in northeastern Spain, killing 14 passengers and injuring 30 others, a Catalonian official said. (AP Photo)
Emergency personnel stand as a crane rights a bus on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 foreign students early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Ampost south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 foreign students an injured 43 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Ampost south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 foreign students an injured 43 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emercency personel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 foreign students early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel operate on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 14 foreign students an injured 43 others early on March 20, 2016. The students, enrolled at Barcelona University as part of the European Erasmus exchange programme, were returning from a traditional festival in the eastern city of Valencia when the driver "hit the railing on the right and swerved to the left so violently that the bus veered onto the other side of the highway," Jordi Jane,who heads interior matters for the Catalonia region, said. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the police look at a piece of paper on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal bus accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel look on as two cranes right a bus on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency personnel stand before the righted bus on the Spanish AP-7 motorway near Freginals, Amposta south of Tarragona following a fatal accident that claimed the lives of 13 foreign students an injured 44 others early on March 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENAPAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images

At least 13 people have died and 43 injured following a coach crash between Barcelona and Valencia.

The coach was carrying Erasmus students of various nationalities who had been attending the annual Las Fallas fireworks festival in Valencia.

It happened at around 6am today as the coach was heading to Barcelona from Valencia three hours south of the Catalan capital.

The crash happened near Freginals around 60 miles south of Tarragona.

The bus was carrying 57 passengers most of whom were students.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said 28 passengers received medical treatment in local hospitals and others received first aid at the crash site.

The bus appeared to have hit the right-hand side barriers of the AP7 highway before cartwheeling across the road and slamming into the central fence, landing on its side, said Mr Jane, spokesman for Spain's north-eastern Catalonia province.

Television images from state broadcaster TVE showed the bus also crashed into an oncoming car on the opposite side of the highway.

It has been confirmed that two Irish students were onboard the bus and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The Irish embassy said it is ready to provide consular assistance.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has announced two days of mourning following the coach crash.

Jordi Jane, a spokesman for the Catalonia province, said emergency rescue workers were still working to clear the wreckage that straddled the AP7 highway's central fence.

He said: "There were students on board, many of them foreign students studying in Catalonia and in Barcelona who had travelled to Valencia for the Fallas and were returning."

He added that the driver of the bus survived the collision and had been taken to a local police station.

Fernandez Diaz said the driver passed alcohol and drug tests he was given.

Anyone with concerns re Irish citizens who may have been affected should contact dfatravel on 014082000 or CRE_Emergencias on +34900400012

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