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At least 40 dead in France following collision between truck and bus

The collision occurred near to Puisseguin, about 40 miles east of Bordeaux.
The collision occurred near to Puisseguin, about 40 miles east of Bordeaux.

At least 40 people are dead after a bus and truck collided in south-west France, police said.

The crash occurred near the town of Puisseguin, an official with the national gendarme service said, adding that the death toll may have been so high because the bus caught fire.

A fire official told the Agence France Presse that the dead were mostly adult passengers on the bus. The lorry driver was also killed.

Reports suggest five people have survived the accident. 

Scores of emergency workers in the region have been mobilised to help, the official said.

Europe-1 radio reported that the bus was carrying primarily elderly people.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on the bus or their nationalities.

Most of the victims were elderly people from south-west France heading on a day trip, according to a French politician.

Gilles Savary said on BFM television that a bus company from the town of Libourne was leading the group on a tourist trip.

Mr Savary called it one of the worst crashes in recent years in the region.

French president Francois Hollande, on a visit to Greece, said the government was "totally mobilised" to help after what he called a "terrible accident".