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Parents at bedside of school trip crash victims

Two British schoolchildren remain in hospital after being badly injured when a coach full of pupils crashed in France near the Swiss border.

The two students, one described as in a life-threatening condition and the other in a serious condition, were airlifted to hospital from the crash site on the A39 motorway at Lons-le-Saunier.

A further 10 students and one member of staff from Cheltenham Bournside School received minor injuries and were treated in hospital before being discharged.

A statement from the school confirmed that 40 pupils as well as staff would be returning home by Eurostar today, arriving back at the school in the early hours of Monday.

It said: "Our thoughts continue to be with the two students and their close family, who are seriously injured in hospital in France and will not be returning to the UK for now.

"We are pleased to be able to confirm that the parents of both students are now with their children and are being supported by the school and other relevant agencies."

French Police are investigating whether the coach driver fell asleep behind the wheel of the vehicle, which had 42 students, six staff and two drivers on board at the time of the crash on Saturday.

Operated by Caernarfon-based Express Motors, the coach had left the UK on Friday and was making its way to Italy for a week's camping trip.

Their destination was Dora Baltea, a river in northern Italy that rises near Mont Blanc and joins the Po near Turin. It is popular for white-water rafting and kayaking.

A school spokesman had said: "Two of the students were airlifted to hospital, one in a life-threatening condition and another in a serious condition.

"The school have met with the parents of these two students, who are now ...with their children."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to a group of British nationals following a coach crash in France. We are in contact with the relevant local authorities."

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