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Swiss Coach Crash: Coffins Loaded On To Belgium Military Planes (PHOTOS)

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The bodies of 22 children and six adults have been loaded onto a military aircraft and are waiting in a hangar to be flown back to Belgium, after the fatal coach crash in Switzerland on Wednesday.

Eight of the survivors of the tragic crash have now returned to Belgium.

At 11.00am, Belgians held a one minute silence for those killed. Travellers at bus, underground and railway stations were asked to pause until church bells rang out to sound the end of the moment of remembrance - the centrepiece of what was declared a national day of mourning within hours of Monday's accident.

At Stekske school in Lommel, which lost 15 children and two teachers, bells were rung for five minutes in remembrance of the victims.

In Heverlee, students threw white balloons in the air in remembrance of their friends.

Shortly before today's mark of respect, two transport planes arrived at a military airfield near Brussels carrying the bodies of the 28 victims, now all identified.

A short and discrete ceremony was organised after the plane landed, with no family members present.

Hearses then carried the bodies back to their respective home regions around Heverlee and Lommel, near the Dutch border.

Meanwhile in Brussels, government officials and politicians gathered in rows outside buildings. At European Commission headquarters, flags were flying at half-mast.

Some commercial television stations halted transmissions for much longer than one minute, cancelling many programmes altogether.

"Words are useless," the Belgian Prime Minister told national radio and TV networks on Wednesday. "This is a tragic day for all of Belgium."

Family members were taken from a hotel in the southern Swiss town of Sion to the nearby morgue, where the bodies were being kept.

One British boy was among those killed, 11-year-old Sebastian Bowles. Mr and Mrs Bowles lived in Crouch End, north London, before moving to Belgium, where Sebastian joined St Lambertus School.

Before moving to Belgium, Sebastian was a pupil at Our Lady of Muswell Catholic Primary School, in north London.

Sebastian, referred to by staff as "the little cherub", was a pupil at the school between 2003 and 2009.
In a statement, the school said: "Our school community is still reeling from the shock of this terrible accident.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sebastian's family at this tragic time.

"He was a wonderfully vibrant boy who is so fondly remembered by pupils, staff and parents at Our Lady of Muswell.

"He was known by staff as 'the little cherub'. He will be greatly missed.

"Today the school held a one minute silence to remember Sebastian."

What caused the crash is still under investigation. The coach had only been on the road for around half an hour. According to investigators it was not speeding.

There has been some speculation that the driver was suffering from a medical condition and possibly had a heart attack. An autopsy is being carried out on his body to see if this could have caused the crash.

Additionally some of the survivors of the crash have suggested that the coach driver may have been changing a disc in the DVD player, which distracted him from the road.

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

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

The students on the school trip had written a blog about their holiday, describing how they missed their parents, and the fun they were having. Read excerpts here.

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Bodies Of The Swiss Coach Crash Are Flown Home
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