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October 21, 2021
WORLD

Belgium prepares to repatriate bodies, announces day of mourning

BRUSSELS – The Belgian authorities are preparing to fly home the bodies of 22 children and six adults killed in a coach crash in Switzerland.Two C-130 Hercules military planes were on standby yesterday. The Belgian cabinet is due to hold an urgent meeting shortly, BBC informs. The coach, carrying 52 people back to Belgium following a skiing trip, struck a wall head-on in a tunnel on Tuesday. Relatives of the victims were later flown to Switzerland, many still unsure about the fate of their children.Another 24 children were injured, some critically, in the late night accident near the town of Sierre, in the southern Swiss canton of Valais.It was the most serious traffic accident in Switzerland’s history for decades. The Belgian foreign ministry said most of the children were aged about 12, and the bus was one of three hired by a Christian group. The children had spent a week skiing in Val d’Anniviers in the Swiss Alps. Those on board the bus that crashed were from the Stekske primary school in Lommel, near the Dutch border, and from St Lambertus in Heverlee, near Leuven (Louvain).Although most of the victims are Belgian, Swiss officials say the dead include seven Dutch children. Among those injured are three Dutch, one Pole and one German.Belgium announced a day of national mourning, while the Swiss and the European parliaments observed a minute’s silence for the victims.

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