One of the first rescue workers to arrive at the scene of a bus crash in Switzerland that killed 28 Belgians, including 22 children, has described the horror that awaited him.
Claude Peter, chief of the regional rescue team of Val d’Anniviers, arrived at the tunnel at Sierre, in the Swiss canton of Valais, 20 minutes after the alarm first rang at around 10pm local time on Tuesday night.
“ In this region, we are prepared for many different things, because we have faced numerous avalanches in the past, and we have particularly well informed rescue teams and doctors," he was quoted by the Belgian Lesoir newspaper as saying.
As he arrived, some of the 52 passengers were already outside the bus.
“Those who were stuck inside were being freed by the firemen.” Some 16 first-aid workers and two doctors were present with him at that time.
He had to take care of the traumatised children - some of whom had serious wounds. “There were legs in a very bad state. It has been extremely gruelling for us to see all these crushed members due to the impact.”
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.
The wreckage of the coach
“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.”
According to local press, the rescue teams were given a debriefing session on Wednesday morning to cope with the shock.