MULHOUSE: A Polish bus crashed early Tuesday on a key highway in eastern France near the German border, killing at least three people and seriously injuring many others, the transport minister said.
Eric Cuvillier said the bus was "lying on its side on a slip road on the A36 highway," that links France to Germany, adding that the crash occurred in the Mulhouse suburb of Sausheim.
A passenger said the driver of the bus suddenly swerved while emerging from the exit lane. "We don't know the exact circumstances as yet," said Herve Robin, the prosecutor of Mulhouse. "The Polish driver is in police custody ... the first tests for alcohol are negative."
A transport ministry statement said several people were in serious condition. A spokesman for the firefighting service put the number at 13. No other vehicles were involved.
The owners of the bus, Polish travel agency Sindbad, which has a fleet of coaches, had chartered it to another company Albatros that ran buses to the French cities of Mulhouse, Cannes, Toulon, Lyon, Marseille and Nice. Sindbad said in a statement the coach was carrying 65 passengers and three staff members.
French officials said there were no children on board. Two drivers were on the bus which linked the western Polish border town of Slubice on the Oder river directly opposite Frankfurt in Germany, to the six French cities. "We immediately received aid, the rescue teams were there in minutes and medical care was abundant," a passenger told Poland's TVN24 channel. Emergency rescue services helicopters and about 150 rescuers were deployed to the scene.