At least 13 people were killed and 43 injured, including two Irish students, when a bus carrying foreign students crashed in northeastern Spain.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the injuries of the Irish students are not life threatening. It said the Irish embassy in Madrid was standing by to provide them with consular assistance.

The two UCC students who were injured were hospitalised following the incident.

There was three Irish students on the bus, the third student was unhurt.

Speaking on RTÉ News, the Irish Ambassador to Spain, David Cooney, said that their injuries are not life threatening and their situation is "reasonably good".

Mr Cooney said the two injured women are in separate hospitals along the Catalonian coast and that they've been in contact with their families.

All of the students on the bus were enrolled at Barcelona University as part of the European Erasmus exchange programme, according to the head of interior matters for the Catalonia region.

It is reported that all of the dead were women in their 20s.

Regional officials said they include seven Italians and two Germans.

The incident is believed to have happened at 6am when a coach carrying over 50 people lost control and collided with another vehicle on the AP-7 motorway near Tarragona.

The accident occurred near the small town of Freginals, about 150 kilometres south of Barcelona as the bus was returning from a traditional festival in the eastern city of Valencia. 

Spanish news agencies are reporting that eight other students have been injured, four of them seriously, and are being treated in local hospitals. 

According to the reports, the injured students are from Switzerland, Norway, England, Turkey, Ukraine and Spain. Most of the students are aged between 22 and 29.

The bus was carrying 57 people in all, including the driver.