POLAND: Prime minister says government will provide financial support for families of bus crash victimsRecord ID: 382213
- Title: POLAND: Prime minister says government will provide financial support for families of bus crash victims
- Date: 24th July 2007
- Summary: PRESIDENTIAL PALACE WITH FLAG AT HALF MAST; SOLDIERS MARCHING OUTSIDE PALACE
- Reuters ID: LVA5JL467I9XPDRILNYFH3GQQSK1
- Location: Poland
- Country: Poland
- Duration: 00:00:11
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Domestic Politics
- Story Text: The flag above the Presidential Palace flew at half mast, church bells tolled and a rock concert was cancelled as Poland began three days of mourning on Monday (July 23) for at least 26 Polish pilgrims killed in a bus crash in France.
President Lech Kaczynski urged Poles to call off all entertainment during mourning for the pilgrims, who died on Sunday (July 22) when their coach careered off a road in the French Alps, plunged down a ravine and burst into flames.
At the beginning of a ceremony in which Elzbieta Jakubiak, was appointed new sports minister, Kaczynski and his twin brother, prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski led a minute's silence to respect the lives lost and the families affected by the disaster.
At a short news conference following the ceremony, the prime minister gave the latest details of the survivors.
"At the moment we have one person in a very critical condition, with little chance of surviving. Seven other people are also in critical condition, in danger of losing their lives. The rest of the group are in better condition," he said.
Kaczynski said that emergency funds, already stretched by a freak tornado on Saturday (July 21) in the south of the country, were being given to the families of those in the bus crash.
"There are funds going from the prime minister's reserves, and they are going very quickly. Certainly it is for all families concerned,"
The pilgrims, from the Szczecin area of northwest Poland, had been due to return home on Tuesday (July 24) after two weeks in Spain and France. A further 24 people were injured in the crash.
Transport Minister Jerzy Polaczek said the brakes of the coach appeared to have failed.
Due to the nation's three day period of mourning a concert by British rock singer Rod Stewart, which had been planned for Tuesday in the largely Catholic country, was cancelled. Organisers were to decide on Monday whether to reschedule a Wednesday (July 25) concert by the Rolling Stones.
People on the streets of Warsaw appeared unanimous in their grief and shock following the accident.
"It's a terrible tragedy, what more can I say? It's traumatic for all the families, a terrible situation for all the families," said Danuta Brylewska.
"What happened in France is a tragedy, it's a national tragedy," echoed Zygmunt Malkiewicz.
"You cannot put this into words. The toll, it's huge," said Czeslaw Jakubczak.
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