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14 foreign students killed in Spain bus crash

The AFP photo taken on March 20, 2016 shows the crash site where students enrolled at Barcelona University as part of the European Erasmus exchange program crashed on the highway south of Barcelona, Spain.

Fourteen foreign exchange students have been killed and 43 others injured in a bus accident in northeastern Spain.

The accident occurred on Saturday just before 6 am (0500 GMT) near the small town of Freginals, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) south of Barcelona as the bus was returning from a traditional festival in the eastern city of Valencia.

Regional authorities in Catalonia said the bus was carrying foreign students registered at Barcelona University as part of the European Erasmus exchange program.

Catalonia region spokesperson for interior matters, Jordi Jane, said the nationalities of the dead had not yet been established.

The driver "hit the railing on the right and swerved to the left so violently that the bus veered onto the other side of the highway," Jane said.

The bus then hit an oncoming car, injuring two people inside, he added.

Spanish television showed images of the car, the front of which was smashed in, and the bus lying on its side after the accident.

A photographer at the scene said many fire trucks were on site, as were three hearses and a heavy-lift crane.

The bus was carrying 57 people in all, including the driver. Of the 43 injured, 30 have been rushed to hospital, Jane said.

"All of a sudden, he stopped seeing it in his rear-view mirror. He stopped at the next service area, called the driver but he didn't pick up," the son of the owner of the company that chartered the bus said. He only gave his first name as Raul.

He added that his father then asked passengers in his own bus to call those in the other vehicle, and that is when he got news of the accident.

"The driver is in a state of shock, but he's okay physically,"  Raul added.

The accident is one of the deadliest in Spain in the past years.

In November 2014, a bus fell into a ravine in the southeast, leaving 14 dead and another 41 injured.

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