Belgian Monarchs Show Support for Bus Tragedy Families

  March 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm by

Belgium’s King Albert II and Queen Paola were present yesterday at the Melsbroek Military Airport, where they were part of an official delegation which saw the departure of the parents of the students involved in the Swiss bus crash on Tuesday.

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The King and Queen were greeted upon their arrival by the Belgian Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, and Defence Minister Pieter De Crem. The group then went inside the airport, away from the media’s glare, to console the families of the twenty-two children and six adults who were killed in the bus crash.

Prime Minister Di Rupo called the day “a black day for all of Belgium,” while King Albert said his thought and prayers were with the victims’ families. The Prime Minister joined the families on the government-issued aircraft for the journey to Switzerland, where the families were taken to the morgue to identify their children and then also to the scene of the accident.

Late Tuesday, a coach carrying fifty-five passengers was returning to Belgium following a school skiing trip to Switzerland. While travelling through the Sierre Tunnel on Switzerland’s A9 Motorway, the coach crashed into a wall, crushing the front end of the bus. Rescuers worked for hours to free the survivors of the crash, who were taken to hospitals in Sion, Bern and Lausanne for surgery and treatment. Twenty-four of the passengers survived the crash. Eight of the survivors have already returned home to Belgium.

Tomorrow has been declared a day of national mourning in Belgium.

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