World News‎ > ‎

Belgian Prime Minister offers condolences to families of bus crash victims

posted 14 Mar 2012, 09:06 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 14 Mar 2012, 09:06 ]

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo expresses his condolences to families of the victims of a bus crash that killed 28 people, mostly children.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (MARCH 14, 2012) (REUTERS) - Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo offered his condolences to the families of the victims of a bus crash that killed 28 people, mostly children who were part of a school party headed home from a ski trip in Switzerland.

"We're all in shock. The king, the queen, the minister of defence, and myself have briefly met the families at the airport of Melsbroek to express our support," Di Rupo said.

Di Rupo said the government would hold a National Day of Mourning to mark the tragedy.

"Given the magnitude and the exceptional character of this drama and the emotions that it triggers, the government has decided to organise a National Day of Mourning," he announced.

52 passengers were aboard the bus when it crashed into a wall of a tunnel in the Swiss canton of Valais at 9:15 p.m. Passengers were mostly children about 12 years of age from the towns of Lommel and Heverlee in Belgium's Dutch-speaking Flanders region.

The bus was returning to Belgium from a skiing holiday camp in Val d'Anniviers, a resort in the Valais Alps that border France.

Ten Dutch children were on the bus, nine who live in Belgium and one in the Netherlands, according to a Dutch foreign affairs spokesman.

A teacher and an assistant from St Lambertus were killed along with the bus's two drivers and two other adults.

Swiss prosecutors are still investigating the cause of the accident.