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Bus carrying British schoolchildren crashes in Belgium; 1 driver killed, others injured

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BRUSSELS — A bus carrying British schoolchildren went off a highway and overturned near the Belgian coast on Sunday morning, killing one driver and injuring another as well as some of the children, officials said.

The vehicle apparently went out of control, struck a bridge pillar on the E40 highway, then shot off the road, Belgian highway authorities said. The bus was carrying around 40 passengers, including 34 British children from 11 to 13 years old, authorities said.

The Belgian federal prosecutor's office said all of the children survived the crash, but that an adult passenger, later identified as one of the two drivers on the bus, had been killed. The second driver was seriously injured. It wasn't immediately clear which of the drivers had been at the wheel at the time of the wreck.

The BBC reported that a 13-year-old boy from Brentwood School outside London was in intensive care with a head injury.

"All of the children managed to walk off the coach," Ian Davies, the school's head teacher, told the BBC. "One of the children subsequently had a head injury. He had a scan and they found a small brain bleed as part of his fractured skull."

The broadcaster said the bus belonged to a company from County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Belgian media said it was transporting the children to Phantasialand, a theme park near Cologne, Germany.

"Sadly we can confirm that one British national has died following the bus crash in Belgium this morning," the British Foreign Office said in a statement. "A team from the British Embassy is on the ground alongside the Belgian local authorities and are working hard to support the people caught up in this terrible incident."

Three adults and some of the children were sent to a local hospital for treatment. Others were transported to a center in the coastal city of Middelkerke. Mayor Janna Rommel-Opstaele said 13 of the children had returned to Britain by Sunday evening.

The E-40 highway, a major thoroughfare that links Belgium's North Sea coast to the capital city of Brussels, was closed to traffic following the crash.

PHOTO: Safety workers attend to a bus which crashed on a motorway in Middlekerke, Belgium on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The bus, carrying British schoolchildren went off the highway and overturned near the Belgian coast on Sunday, injuring the driver and some of the children and killing one of the adults accompanying them. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Safety workers attend to a bus which crashed on a motorway in Middlekerke, Belgium on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The bus, carrying British schoolchildren went off the highway and overturned near the Belgian coast on Sunday, injuring the driver and some of the children and killing one of the adults accompanying them. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

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