21/02/2012 07:41 GMT | Updated 21/02/2012 07:46 GMT

Peter Rippington Death: Family Thank Public For Support After French Bus Crash

The family of teacher Peter Rippington, who was killed in a bus crash in northern France on Sunday, have expressed thanks for the support they have received after the tragic incident, which they said has given them "strength, comfort and pride."

The son of the 59-year-old teacher who Max has also been reunited with his sister and mother. In a statement, the family said Max was "delighted" to see his sister Amy and mother Sharon, who was recovering in hospital.

"Sharon who suffered multiple injuries to her face and back is recovering in hospital and is able to talk to family and friends.

"Amy is also with her in hospital and is being treated for bruising and severely aching muscles. They all, Sharon, Amy, Max and family wanted to express deep thanks to all for the very kind tributes and support being given. It has given them all enormous strength, comfort and pride."

It comes after prosecutors revealed the driver of a coach carrying schoolchildren home from a ski trip which crashed in northern France killing a teacher has "no recollection" of the accident.

The driver, named in reports as Derek Thompson, 47, is being investigated for involuntary homicide and involuntary wounding after the bus he was driving flipped over and plunged to the bottom of a motorway embankment in the Champagne-Ardenne region on Sunday.

Teacher Peter Rippington, 59, died and his wife Sharon and daughter Amy were also injured in the crash near Rheims, which involved 29 pupils from Alvechurch Middle School in Alvechurch, Worcestershire.

In a statement released after a court hearing in Chalons-en-Champagne on 21 February, prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny explained: "In his presentation before a judge late Monday afternoon, the driver explained that he had no recollection of the circumstances of the accident.

"While in custody, after denying falling asleep, the driver acknowledged that it was possible that he was drowsy."

Initial tests had showed Thompson was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and local police were said to be investigating whether he might have fallen asleep at the wheel.