Title:BELGIUM: European Union lowers flags as Belgium holds national day of mourning for the victims of the Swiss bus crash that killed twenty eight
Date:17th March 2012
Summary:BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (MARCH 16, 2012) (REUTERS)
EXTERIOR OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION / EU FLAGS BEING LOWERED
WORKERS LOWERING FLAGS
FLAGS BEING LOWERED
WOMAN LOWERING FLAGS
FLAGS COMING DOWN
FLAGS FLYING AT HALF MAST
VARIOUS OF FLAGS AT HALF MAST
Story Text: Flags outside the European Union commission and Council were lowered on Friday (March 16) as Belgium held a national day of mourning for the victims of the Swiss bus crash that killed 28.
All 27 flags were lowered to half mast at 0800 local (0600GMT) as a sign of respect for the victims, most of which were children.
Belgium said it would hold a national day of mourning as parents of the victims and the first of the survivors headed home.
Of the 52 passengers on the bus, which was carrying school groups from the Belgian towns of Heverlee and Lommel home from a ski trip when it crashed into the wall of a tunnel on Tuesday (March 13) night, only 24 survived. Some were still in critical condition on Thursday.
The Belgian cabinet cancelled a meeting scheduled for Friday to mark the day of mourning. A minute of silence will be observed around the country at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) and flags flown at half-mast.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also ordered that Dutch flags on public buildings be flown at half-mast on Friday. Six Dutch children were killed in the crash and a further four were injured. The town of Lommel is right by the Dutch border.
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