Swiss bus accident: Rescuers 'traumatised'

2012-03-14 08:48

Geneva - Officials have called a bus accident in Sierre in the Swiss canton of Valais "unprecedented" and "traumatic". Twenty-eight people, including 22 children, returning to Belgium from a skiing holiday died in a bus accident in Sierre in the Swiss canton of Valais, Swiss police said on Wednesday.

Another 24 children were reported injured. They were returning to Belgium from a skiing holiday in Val d'Anniviers.

During a press conference early on Wednesday morning, the Valais police commander said the tragedy was "unprecedented" and that even seasoned rescuers had been traumatised.

Helicopters and ambulances ferried the injured to four hospitals, police said.

In Brussels, the Belgian foreign ministry said most of the children were aged around 12 and the bus was one of three hired by a Christian group.

Surgeon Jean-Pierre Deslarzes said in one of the hospitals: "All the rescuers were shocked by what they have experienced."

Hit a wall

"This tragedy will hit the whole of Belgium," the Belgian ambassador to Switzerland Jan Luykx told the Swiss news agency SDA-ATS. "The magnitude of the accident is difficult to digest."

The bus, registered in Belgium, was travelling towards Sion and hit a wall on Tuesday night in the motorway tunnel running from east to west and exiting at Sierre.

The bus was carrying 52 passengers from the cities of Lommel in northeast Belgium and Heverlee in the centre of the country.

Officials said rescuers worked through the night.

The news agency said two drivers had been killed in the accident.

  • mknnko003 - 2012-03-14 09:21

    Condolences to the families...

  • Peter - 2012-03-14 09:29

    ...... I always wonder what our Emergency personnel go through on a daily basis. In this Swiss accident, 28 were killed, and it is called "unprecedented", "the magniture of the accident is difficult to digest" etc etc ... here in SA, our people see this every day and as a matter of course! And not once do we hear government, the news-media or anyone praising them or expressing concern for them. SICK!!!

      Jeffrey - 2012-03-14 10:21

      I was thinking much the same thing, Peter. In Switzerland it's unprecedented; in SA it's so much the norm that not every crash even makes the news. Gotta feel not just for the families of these victims but for for all the people concerned with / in similar accidents, including the rescuers.

      JasonEye - 2012-03-14 10:26

      I was thinking the same thing, its very unfortunate what South Africans have become used to. We dont give these kinds of things a second thought! there are rapes and murders everyday not to mention a few horror crashes per month! I feel for the people in Belgium who have lost loved ones, but more importantly for me, this has brought home even more how the Government fails to protect us in this country!

      Wollie - 2012-03-14 13:08

      I once read that the trauma that SA rescue personel are exposed to daily exceed even that of military personel in a combat zone. Thumbs up to our people for doing a job I would never be able to!

  • Renate - 2012-03-14 09:37

    condolences <3

  • Peter - 2012-03-14 10:01

    A terrible tragedy, condolence to families and survivors.

  • stampalex - 2012-03-14 10:05

    Damn that's bad - Heartfelt condolences to all loved ones. Keep the faith, Belgium...

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-14 10:46

    The Swiss call it "unprecedented" and "traumatic" while South Africans refer to it as just another day in the traffic. This country may have taken a step forward in the doing away of apartheid but in every other sphere we have taken so many steps backwards as to no longer even register on the worlds progress map.

  • william - 2012-03-14 10:52

    The children shell stand in his Holy place. God bless those who must suffer this great loss of there children. R.I.P.

      Martin Myburgh - 2012-03-14 11:16


  • pjcbs - 2012-03-14 11:45

    Kunnen onze kinderen rusten in vrede. Onze gedachten zijn bij de families. May our children rest in peace. Our thoughts are with the families.

  • Jacqui - 2012-03-14 13:10

    Our cars need safety belts, but a bus don't. Rather a strange way of thinking isn't it?.

      Sharon Gien-Cambier - 2012-03-15 07:44

      Jacqui they did all have seatbelts on, but the impact was of such magnitude that it didnt help:(

  • Chris - 2012-03-14 14:14

    I cannot even imagine how to begin to send all of my family's thoughts and prayers to all those involved in this tragedy.

  • Philippe - 2012-03-16 18:20

    Thank you very much for your comment. We are humbled by your reactions. Philippe from Belgium

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