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Commemoration for victims of 2012 Sierre coach crash in Switzerland
A 10th anniversary memorial service for the 28 victims of the 2012 Sierre coach crash was attended by Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo on Sunday, along with relatives and school and municipal representatives.
Belgium was plunged into national mourning 10 years ago when 22 children, aged between 10 and 12, plus six adults were killed in the motorway accident near Sierre in the canton of Valais.
The coach, carrying 52 passengers, was returning from a school ski trip when it hit a kerb and collided with a concrete wall at the end of an emergency turnout area in the tunnel. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
Emergency services soon arrived on the scene and 12 ambulances and eight helicopters were involved in the traumatic rescue operation, which lasted more than eight hours.
The 22 children who died were principally from primary schools in Lommel in Limburg province and Heverlee. near Leuven. Among the fatalities were six children from the Netherlands and one boy with Belgian-British nationality. The other 24 children on board were all injured.
The exact causes of the accident were never formally identified and criminal proceedings were closed in 2015. Both drivers were killed in the crash, which was Switzerland’s second worst road accident in history.
A private tribute will take place in Lommel on Monday at the monument dedicated to the victims, near the 't Stekske primary school. The Sint-Lambertusschool in Heverlee organised a moment of meditation with relatives on Friday evening.
Photo: Belga © Nicolas Maeterlinck