RELATIVES of two Alvechurch schoolgirls who suffered serious injuries in a coach crash in France have thanked medical staff for their support and help.
In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, the families of Taylor Little and Freya Smith-Carrington also confirmed that both girls remained in hospital following the accident last Sunday.
Teacher Peter Rippington, 59, died after the bus, carrying a group of schoolchildren on their way home from a skiing trip, flipped onto its side on a motorway embankment in the Champagne-Ardenne region.
In their statement, the Little and Carrington families said: "Taylor Little, aged 13 and Freya Smith-Carrington, aged 11, both of the Worcestershire area and pupils at Alvechurch Middle School, sustained serious injuries during the coach crash in France on 19th February.
"The girls are currently being treated in hospital and hope to return home very soon.
"Both families wish to thank the medical services, as well as French and British authorities, for their support and help at this difficult time."
Asking the media to respect their privacy, the families added: "Our prayers and thoughts are with the Rippington family and all of the other injured children and adults."
The driver of the coach, named in reports as Derek Thompson, 47, appeared before a judge in Chalons-en-Champagne earlier this week.
French authorities say the driver is being investigated for involuntary homicide and involuntary wounding after the accident, which involved 29 pupils from Alvechurch Middle School.