The driver of the car hadn't been speeding when he lost control and it went up in blazes before crashing in a field.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 27, 2020. It has since been updated.
Losing one family member, that too unexpectedly, is a shock but losing multiple members in one go is a tragedy of huge proportions. When children are taken away from their parents because of a shocking tragedy like an accident, it can be very hard to come to terms with. For instance, Madeleine McCann's parents still have the hope that their daughter is alive somewhere and will be returned to them when prosecutors have said that it is sure that she died when she was kidnapped. For this family, it is the unknown that is creating pain. But, recently another family felt their lives change upside down.
The pain that the family would have experienced is unimaginable and words would fail to describe. We can only pray for them. In an unprecedented tragedy, one family lost five children, and four other people were injured when a car crashed on one of France's busiest roads on July 20, 2020. The car was carrying nine people, all of whom were of the same family.
Smoke started emanating out of the car before it caught fire on the A7 route. The driver lost control and the minivan rolled many times over before crashing in a nearby field next to the road, which is also known as "the Highway of the Sun". The busy road goes south via the Rhone valley from Lyon to the city of Marseille, as per Metro UK.
The family had been traveling back home, which was on the outskirts of Lyon, according to authorities. Among the injured were three adults and a child, who is also fighting for his life. They were taken to a hospital in Lyon immediately.
"The dead children were aged between three and 14," said Hugues Moutouh, the local prefect, according to Mirror UK. Among the dead were three girls and two boys. The surviving child is a seven-year-old boy. The car was being driven by a male driver, and there were two more adults. They were all taken on a helicopter to be placed in intensive care.
The family was from the Lyon suburb of Vénissieux but none of their names have been shared with the public yet. The minivan they were traveling in was meant for seven people only but there were nine people inside it. They were approaching an exit slip road when the tragedy occurred at around 6.55 pm.
Horror crash kills five children from same family on busy France road https://t.co/GsDVQa7RAJ— Evening Standard (@EveningStandard) July 21, 2020
"The minivan they were in sped off the road and ended up in a field after catching fire," said Moutouh. He told Europe1, "The accident took place shortly before 7 pm, the alert was triggered at 6:58 pm. We do not yet know the reasons for which the fire started inside the vehicle but the blaze was lively, immediate."
The male driver had not been speeding and mentioned that there was a problem with the brakes before passing out. An investigation is ongoing and some of France's top politicians have urged people to be careful.
EN DIRECT | Je réponds aux questions de Julien Arnaud sur TF1 après l'accord inédit décidé ce matin au Conseil européen. https://t.co/00hG4KTiXm— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 21, 2020
Gérald Darmanin, France’s Interior Minister, was quoted as saying by Mirror UK, "Five children died in particularly atrocious circumstances and a child is fighting for life at this very moment. We think of this bereaved family."
Former Prime Minister Jean Castex said, "My thoughts are with the families and relatives of the victims. Support and solidarity with our wounded fellow citizens who are fighting for their lives. I welcome the mobilisation of the security and rescue services and state agents."
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his condolences to the family. "I share the immense pain of the relatives of the victims. My thoughts are also with those injured and all those who support them,” he wrote, as per New York Post.
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Sawek Kawilla