- Title: BELGIUM: School in shock as details emerge from Swiss bus crash
- Date: 15th March 2012
- Summary: HEVERLEE, BELGIUM (MARCH 14, 2012) (REUTERS) POLICE CAR IN FRONT OF SCHOOL FLASHING LIGHT ON POLICE CAR WITH SCHOOL IN BACKGROUND TEACHER WITH GROUP OF CHILDREN ENTERING SCHOOL CHILDREN ENTERING SCHOOL POLICE IN FRONT OF SCHOOL SMALL GIRL CRYING TWO GIRLS ENTERING SCHOOL POLICE AND MEDIA TEACHER WITH CHILDREN WALKING TOWARDS ENTRANCE OF SCHOOL
- Reuters ID: LVA7N5H1VXLE4UGGK530Q3VFJNT6
- Location: Belgium, Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Duration: 00:00:45
- Topics: Accidents
- Story Text: Police escorted children and their parents on Wednesday (March 14) as they arrived at the Saint Lambertus school in the Belgian town of Heverlee.
More details emerged from the bus crash involving pupils and teachers from the school.
Two teachers of the school died in the crash and the whereabouts of eight pupils were still unknown, a priest and member of the schoolboard told Reuters.
"24 children from here went over there, about eight children we have no information, the others are alive, but with various injuries, like broken legs. But about eight children we don't know anything. We know that the two teachers have died," Dirk De Gent, priest and member of the schoolboard said.
The bus was carrying the Belgian children home from a school ski trip when it crashed into the wall of a tunnel in the Valais region of Switzerland, killing 28 people, 22 of them children.
The bus, transporting 52 people, mostly school children aged about 12 from Lommel and Heverlee in Flanders, crashed late on Tuesday evening in the canton of Valais, police told an early-morning news conference.
"We are providing psychological support. We need to be next to the parents who are suffering," said De Gent.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said in a statement he would also travel to Switzerland on Wednesday.
The bus was heading back to Belgium from a skiing holiday camp in Val d'Anniviers, a ski resort at about 1,600 metres (5,250 feet) altitude in the Valais Alps that border France.
Police said the bus had just joined the highway towards Sitten from Siders after coming down to the valley from the resort. After 2 kms (1.2 miles) on the road, the bus bumped into the curb and skidded into an emergency siding of the tunnel.
The front third of the bus was smashed in. Many passengers were trapped in the wreck and had to be freed. Some 200 police, fire-fighters, doctors and medics worked through the night, while 12 ambulances and eight helicopters took the injured to hospital.
The crash was one of the worst in Switzerland since 1982 when 39 German tourists were killed on a railway crossing when a train hit their bus and the worst in the Valais region since a bus crashed in a ravine in 2005, killing 12 and injuring 15.
Last month, a British teacher was killed and more than 20 people hurt in northern France after a coach crashed while bringing schoolchildren home from a skiing trip in Italy.
Twenty-four other children aboard the Belgium-bound bus were injured and were being treated in hospital, police said. Two drivers in the bus also were killed. The cause of the accident was not yet known, police said.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told French radio Europe 1 the bus was one of three travelling together and the other two had returned to Belgium.
Switzerland's mountain regions have a history of deadly crashes. In 2001, a truck crashed in the Gotthard tunnel under the Alps, causing a blaze which killed 11 people.
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