A bus crash Tuesday night in Valais, southern Switzerland, left 28 people dead — 22 of them children, the Associated Press reports.The schoolchildren were returning from a ski vacation when the bus slammed into a tunnel wall in the Swiss Alps. Twenty-four children have been hospitalized.
While on the ski trip, students from the St. Lambert School in Heverlee, Belgium, one of two different Belgian schools riding the bus home, wrote posts on a ski blog, many of them filled with excitement. “Today was totally the best,” one girl wrote. “The adventurous walk was tiring but mega-cool. We won first prize for cleanest room. Tomorrow it’s going to be colder. Byyyeeee!”
Another post, from a boy, read: “Things are super here in Saint-Luc. The skiing, the weather, the food. Its all not bad at all... I’m now reading the book ‘Why Dogs Have Wet Noses.’ Very interesting! I miss you all.”
On the fifth day of the vacation, a teacher posted a note to reassure parents at home, saying she did not see much homesickness. “But from the reactions of the children we gather that they miss you a little bit.” Another post related “how cool” all the children thought their ski instructor was.
On Wednesday, the blog’s entries appeared to have been deleted.
On the St. Lambert School Web site, a page set up for condolences was immediately filled with hundreds of comments.
One comment, from a woman who said she had been a sixth grade teacher at the school in 1992, read: “So terrible to have to learn! Words can not describe this.” Another person wrote: “sweet angels, to anywhere you (too early) go... be all well.”
The crash is one of the worst accidents in Switzerland in 30 years, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The front of the bus was left mangled, trapping some of the passengers inside until rescuers reached the scene. A police chief told the AP it was a “scene like a war.”
According to police, the bus hit the barrier stones on the side of the wall and then veered into the wall. A full investigation has been launched to discover more about what went wrong. A government spokesman said a crisis center had been set up for families.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said he planned to fly to Switzerland Wednesday, along with the parents and relatives of the victims.
He called it “an extremely sad day for all of Belgium.”
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