Belgium mourns Swiss bus crash victims | News | DW | 21.03.2012
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Belgium mourns Swiss bus crash victims

The king of Belgium and political leaders have joined thousands of mourners to grieve the victims of last week's bus crash in Switzerland that claimed 28 lives.

Five thousand mourners attended a funeral service in Lommel, Belgium, on Wednesday for 15 schoolchildren and two adults killed in a bus crash in Switzerland last week.

Soldiers carried small white coffins into a hall where a ceremony took place attended by King Albert II and other dignitaries.

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Memorial service for crash victims

Belgian and Dutch Prime Ministers Elio Di Rupo and Mark Rutte along with the Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Maxima, also paid their respects at the memorial service.

Swiss police and firemen who were involved in the rescue mission after the bus crashed also attended the hour-long service.

A teacher's assistant and a child already buried in a private ceremony will be remembered by photos, before private burials for the other victims take place in the Lommel cemetery.

A separate memorial has been scheduled for Thursday in the Belgium town of Heverlee, home to the other seven children and two adults killed in the crash.

The Belgian students, most of whom were 12 years old, were returning from a school trip in Switzerland last week when the bus transporting them home hit a tunnel wall. The victims included 22 Belgians and six Dutch citizens. An additional 24 were wounded in the crash. The cause of the accident remains unknown and is under investigation.

sej/mz/ipj (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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