5 children killed in Spain minibus crash

2014-05-09 16:15

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Madrid - Five children from a youth football team were killed when their minibus crashed into a mechanical digger on a country road in southern Spain, emergency services said on Friday.

The vehicles collided near Castuera in the southwestern Extremadura region on Thursday evening as the bus took the youngsters home from playing in a football match, officials said.

"The five deceased are minors," the Extremadura emergency services said on Twitter on Friday, updating an earlier toll which had said they were four minors and one adult.

The emergency services earlier said that 13 people were injured overall, of which 11 were taken to hospital.

Various Spanish media reports put the ages of the minors killed at between 12 and 15 years.

The president of the Extremadura regional government, Jose Antonio Monago, said the youngsters were on their way home after playing in a competition in the rural region.

"A death is always a tragedy, but I think it resonates a bit more in everyone's mind when it is children of such a young age," he told COPE radio station as he headed to the scene of the accident late Thursday.

He decreed three days of official mourning in Extremadura, the regional government said in a statement.

Media published photographs of the white bus lying on its side by the highway as rescuers worked at the scene.

Last July a bus carrying more than 30 passengers careened off a highway near Avila in central Spain and ploughed into a metal safety barrier, killing nine passengers.

That was the deadliest bus accident in Spain since April 2008 when nine Finnish tourists were killed in a crash in the southern Andalusia region.

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