One Pupil Dead And Four Others Critical Following School Minibus Crash In Houeillès, France

Image of a Gendarmerie police officer in Paris.

A tragic accident occurred at around 6 pm this Friday, August 25, in the village of Houeillès, near Landes in southwestern France.

The incident involving a minibus carrying seven children occurred on a secondary road in the Lot-et-Garonne village. The vehicle left the road and ran into a concrete parapet, resulting in the death of one passenger, a 12-year-old boy. Four other pupils are also said to be in critical condition.

Speaking at a press briefing, Florent Farge, secretary general of the prefecture of Agen said: ‘We deplore a dramatic accident that occurred last night around 6 pm in the town of Houilles’.

‘The minibus was transporting 7 children aged 11 to 13 who were returning from an aquatic activity at the Sauméjean centre’, he explained.

Farge further specified that: ‘The minibus, while travelling in a straight line on a secondary road, went out of its trajectory, crossed the opposite lane, the entire roadway, to violently hit a concrete parapet’.

Following behind the minibus that crashed was a second one carrying more schoolchildren who had been on the same trip and they witnessed the accident.

A major rescue operation was immediately initiated with 51 firefighters, 20 gendarmes, the Samu, two helicopters and seven ambulances all deployed to the scene.

Including the 26-year-old driver, there were eight people on board the vehicle that left the road. The children were aged between 11 and 13.

‘On the evolution of the balance sheet of the victims, it is unfortunately not very good. One of the children hospitalised in critical condition at the Bordeaux hospital, and aged 12, died during the night’ confirmed Florent Farge.

‘Two children initially hospitalised in Agen were transported to Toulouse in critical condition. There are also two children in relative emergency hospitalised in Marmande’, he added. The parents of the victims were notified by the gendarmerie and are the ‘subject of support’.

The summer camp that the kids were attending caters for around 60 children, from ‘different regions of France’, according to the public prosecutor.

According to the office of the Secretary of State in charge of Youth and the SNU, the children of this centre were aged from eight to 14 years and that the majority of them depended on the Childhood Social Assistance (ASE ).

The deceased teenager was attached to the ASE de la Somme, said Sophie Borderie, president of the Departmental Council of Lot-et-Garonne. A psychological support unit was immediately opened in the reception centre for children and supervisors following the incident.

Olivier Naboulet, the public prosecutor of Agen indicated that an: ‘investigation has been opened from a judicial point of view since the end of this Friday afternoon’.

It is opened on three criminal counts: ‘manslaughter by a driver of a motorised land vehicle; involuntary injuries by a driver of a motorised land vehicle having caused an ITT of more than 3 months; and involuntary injuries by a driver of a motorised land vehicle resulting in an ITT of less than 3 months’.

The services involved are those of the Marmande Gendarmerie Company and the Marmande Research Brigade, two units that began their work yesterday afternoon’, detailed the public prosecutor.

The vehicle, removed yesterday ‘will be the subject of an expert measure to know all the elements to understand how this accident occurred’. The investigators will also have to determine: ‘if the driver himself had a failure, committed an error or a driving fault or if he encountered an obstacle on his way which caused him to deviate from his trajectory’, they added.

Olivier Naboulet revealed that the driver was ’employed’ and an investigation will determine if he was a facilitator in the summer camp. He was also injured and after being treated in Marmande: ‘At the end of his treatment, he was placed in police custody overnight’.

According to initial information, the driver is ‘unknown to the justice, police and gendarmerie services’, indicated the prosecutor.

‘It will be necessary to check – the analyses are in progress – if he had consumed alcohol. A priori, the first elements suggest that this is not the case, but this remains to be confirmed’, continued Naboulet. Analyses are also underway to determine if the twenty-something had consumed illicit substances or narcotics.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at