Coach carrying Britons crashes in Alps, one dead

PARIS (AFP) - At least one person died and three others were seriously injured after a coach carrying Britons crashed in the French Alps, local officials said.

The coach slammed into the mountain face bordering the winding road down from the popular ski resort of Alpe d'Huez and caught fire.

An official told AFP one person - thought to be the bus driver - died, three others were seriously injured and 21 more slightly hurt.

Police had previously said three perished in the accident.

The road leading down from the ski resort is well known for its 21 treacherous, hairpin bends, and regularly features in the Tour de France cycling race.

Photos published on the website of the local daily Le Dauphine showed smoke bellowing from the burnt-out coach, as rescue workers carried a victim on a stretcher. A helicopter was also on site.

The cause of the crash is as yet unknown.

A total of 53 people were on the coach, including two drivers.

This is the latest deadly coach accident in France.

In September last year, a Polish bus crashed on a key highway near the eastern city of Mulhouse near the German border, killing at least two people and seriously injuring many others.

The same month, a bus carrying Romanians from Spain blew a tyre and overturned in southern France, killing a baby girl and injuring more than 40 people.

France's deadliest road accident occurred in August 1992 near the Burgundy city of Beaune when 53 people, including 44 children, died when a coach collided into two cars in dense holiday traffic during rain.

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