Belgian Bus slams tunnel wall in Alps; 22 children dead
Wednesday, 14 March 2012


A tour bus slammed into a tunnel wall in the Swiss Alps in a horrific accident that killed 22 school children and six adults returning to Belgium from a joyous ski vacation, police said Wednesday.

Another 24 students were hospitalized, police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet told The Associated Press, after one of the deadliest highway accidents in Swiss history left the front of the bus mangled, trapping some people inside. The police chief described a "scene like a war."

The bus carrying 52 people, including students of around age 12 from two different Belgian schools, hit the tunnel wall shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday night on a highway near the southern town of Sierre, Switzerland, in an area of popular ski resorts.

Authorities were still identifying all the victims, said Didier Reynders, the Belgian foreign minister. It was unclear exactly how the accident happened, he said.

"It is incomprehensible," Reynders said.

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo called it "an extremely sad day for all of Belgium." He planned to fly to Switzerland on Wednesday, and the Belgian government was arranging planes to fly parents and relatives of the victims to the site.

Police said the students had spent the last few days at a ski camp and were on their way back to the Belgian provinces of Brabant, Flanders and Limbourg.

 



  

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