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28 Belgians killed in bus crash in Switzerland

03-14-2012 13:53 BJT

SIERRE, Switzerland, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-eight Belgians were killed in a serious bus accident that occurred in southwest Switzerland on Tuesday night, Swiss police confirmed early Wednesday.

The death victims included 22 children around 12 years, said Christian Varone, the police chief of the Swiss canton of Valais at a press conference.

Journalists gather outside the Sint Lambertus School in Haverlee in the suburbs of Belgian
city of Leuven on March 14, 2012. Twenty-eight Belgians, including children from two
schools in Lommel and Heverlee in Belgium, were killed in a serious bus accident that
occurred in southwest Switzerland on Tuesday night, Swiss police confirmed early Wednesday.
(Xinhua/Wu Wei)

Twenty-four other Belgians were injured in the incident, said Varone, adding that there were 50 Belgian students and two drivers on the bus back home from a ski tour in Switzerland.

The accident happened around 9:15 p.m. local time (2015 GMT) in a tunnel near Sierre. Varone said the bus apparently struck the left side of the tunnel, veered right and crashed into an emergency lane inside the tunnel.

The bus, which had been towed out of the tunnel, had its head and right side seriously deformed. A green ski wear was seen on the destroyed vehicle.

Relatives of the school students gather at the Sint Lambertus School in Haverlee in the
suburbs of Belgian city of Leuven on March 14, 2012. Twenty-eight Belgians, including
children from two schools in Lommel and Heverlee in Belgium, were killed in a serious bus
accident that occurred in southwest Switzerland on Tuesday night, Swiss police confirmed
early Wednesday. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo is en route to Switzerland on Wednesday morning.

The whole Belgium was shocked by the accident, Belgian ambassador to Switzerland Jan Lunks told reporters. Lunks expressed gratitude to the timely rescue mission by the Swiss side.

According to Varone, some 200 people were sent to the scene on rescue operation. Eight helicopters and 12 ambulances were mobilized to rush those injured to the nearest hospitals.

The Valais police has set up a team to provide psychological assistance to the children who survived the accident.

The bus was in good conditions when the accident happened, said local prosecutor Oliver Elsig, adding that the cause of the accident was under investigations.

 

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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