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Photo: K. Schmitt / photo booth / IMAGO
In black ice, five boarding school students in the French Jura Mountains left the road with their car and fell into an icy lake.
Only one occupant managed to escape from the sinking car and sound the alarm in the accident near Champagnole, the broadcaster BFMTV reported.
Despite the best efforts of the police and fire brigade, the other four people in the car died.
The accident happened on Wednesday afternoon.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer spoke of a drama.
He wrote on his Twitter account that his thoughts are with the victims' relatives and friends.
The school authorities stand by the environment of those affected.
Prefect David Philot told BFMTV that the road along Lake Chalain was completely icy.
The driver lost control of the car.
Unlike the rest of the road, there were no trees at the scene of the accident, so the car fell down.
"We are really facing a drama, everyone is shocked." Investigations into the exact course of the accident have been taken, said Philot.
According to the information, only the driver of the car was of legal age.
The other victims were between 15 and 17 years old.
All the people in the car were boarders at the high school in the provincial town of Champagnole.
The surviving student was taken to a hospital.
He suffered from hypothermia.
The four fatalities were recovered and also transported to a clinic for identification, it said.
As reported by the broadcaster France bleu, psychological care should be set up at the high school concerned.
Champagnole is located in the east of the country near the Swiss border.