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Swiss Coach Crash: Belgian PM Declares Day Of Mourning As Families Wait For News

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Belgium's prime minister has declared a national day of mourning after a coach crash claimed the lives of 28 people, including 22 school children.

"Words are useless," he told national radio and TV networks. "This is a tragic day for all of Belgium."

His comments came as it was claimed in Switzerland's Le Nouvelliste newspaper that so far only five families from Lommel, where the schoolchildren were from, know about the fate of their kids.

Click here to read a rescue worker's testimony from the "horrific" crash

Another Swiss newspaper, Le Matin, gave the account of a night guard who entered into the tunnel after the accident.

“I saw the front seats of the bus smashed one against the other; there was blood everywhere, and I could see the children who were still alive fidgeting so that someone could save them,” she said.

“No one was there. No policemen, no firemen. I realised there was nothing I could do alone so I called the rescue teams.”

The mother-of-two said she could still see the children's faces "I can still see all those faces looking at me, not knowing if they were dead or alive. It was horrible.”


The wreckage of the coach

Meanwhile it was claimed in the Belgian press that the bus crashed because it was speeding: "The coach was travelling at very high speed. It was going considerably faster than the speed limit on a stretch of road where the speed is limited to 100kmh," a senior police officer said in the Le Soir newspaper.

Distraught parents are meeting outside the Sint Lambertus school today, to comfort one another and wait to hear more details.

As the families of the victims prepare to leave for Switzerland, a 12-year-old survivor with broken legs and a broken arm managed to reach her father.

She was quoted by Le Soir telling her Dad “It was very dark, and I heard a huge shock. All the seats went flying and I found myself between two seats.”

Belgian police spokesperson Marc Vranckx said: "Some parents know their kids have survived. For others there is no news."

Valais police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet said 52 people were on the bus carrying students home from a skiing trip crashed into the wall of a tunnel. A further 24 children were injured in the crash and taken to hospital.

Both bus drivers were killed and news agency AFP reports most of the children were aged around 12 years old.

The children are thought to have been from two different schools, the Sint Lambertus school in Heverlee and from the ‘t Stekske school in Lommel.

The schoolkids had written a blog about their holiday where they talked about the "great time" they were having skiing and how much they were "looking forward to getting home."


Mourners outside the Sint Lambertus school

Police said the bus, which was carrying 52 people in total, crashed around 9pm local time on Tuesday in a tunnel at Sierre.

According to local reports, the bus swerved, hit a curb and then crashed into a concrete wall inside the tunnel.


View Coach Crash in a larger map

Eight helicopters and 12 ambulances transported the victims to hospital, while 15 doctors and numerous firefighters and police attended the scene, the Associated Press reports.

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