PUISSEGUIN, France (Reuters) – French investigators at the scene of a crash involving a truck and a coach carrying elderly day-trippers that killed at least 43 people said on Saturday that identifying the victims of France’s worst road accident in decades could take weeks.
At least 41 people on the coach taking pensioners on a day excursion were killed shortly before dawn on Friday when it collided head-on with the truck in France’s Bordeaux wine-growing region and burst into flames. The truck driver and his three-year old son also died.
By Stephane Mahe
The villages of rural France are faced with decreasing numbers of residents. In addition to the closure of bakeries and shops, they are seeing rising costs to maintain the religious and social heart of these communities, the local church. The village of Gesté and its church, Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens, has witnessed this first-hand.
Local media reported the final phase of the “deconstruction” of a neo-Gothic church in the village of Gesté, and its 2,600 residents. The municipal council was unable to allocate the funds, some 3 million euros ($4.05 million) in 2007, needed for repairs and upkeep. With some research I discovered that since 2000, more than twenty village churches had faced the demolition ball. Apparently 250 churches in France are threatened with the same fate as municipalities are faced with extremely high costs to repair and maintain them, costs that are higher than the cost of tearing them down.