The families and relatives of the victims carry candles in procession in Petit Palais, southwestern France, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of the bus crash last Friday in Puisseguin. A truck and a bus transporting retirees on a day trip collided and caught fire Friday on a country road in wine country in southwest France, killing over 40 people and gravely injuring at least four others, authorities said. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
PARIS (AP) — Hundreds of mourners took part in a march Sunday to commemorate the victims of France’s deadliest road accident in more than 30 years.
Prior to the march, family members of the 43 people who died in Friday’s fiery crash between a truck and a bus full of retirees gathered for a church ceremony in Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps — a village in southwestern France where many of the victims lived.
In an emotional ceremony, local official Harry Sabarot said the community had been “overwhelmed” and the dramatic accident “won’t be forgotten.”
Mourners solemnly carried flowers and a white memorial shrine illuminated by candles to symbolize the dead. Residents of neighboring villages also attended, showing how deeply the tragedy has shaken the entire region.
Social worker Laetitia Pedemey came from the nearby village of Artigues de Lussac to pay her respects — and was heartened to see so many mourners.
“Petit-Palais (et Cornemps) is a small village. I am working for elderly people, so it makes me feel good to see this crowd. It is a dramatic situation,” she said.
President Francois Hollande will attend an official commemoration ceremony for the victims Tuesday.
An investigation has begun but police have not yet identified the cause of the crash. The analysis of the truck’s black box has proven difficult due to its long exposure to fire.
The victims included 41 people on the bus as well as the truck driver and his 3-year-old son.
This story corrects that the official ceremony on Tuesday will be in the village of Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps, not the Petit Palais in Paris.
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