Belgium declared a national day of mourning after a Belgian tourist bus crashed in Switzerland, killing 28 people, many of them children, the French-language RTBF broadcaster said on Wednesday.
A bus with 52 people on board slammed into a tunnel wall in near the town of Sierre in southern Switzerland at 00:15 Moscow time on Wednesday [20:00 GMT Tuesday]. Twenty-eight people were killed, including 22 children aged about 12. The remaining 24 people were injured, most of them seriously, including three in coma.
The bus swerved for an unknown reason, hit a tunnel curb and crashed head-on into the concrete wall of an emergency access section. The front of the bus was almost completely destroyed. Local police chief Christian Varone said the crash site looked like "a scene from a war zone."
The cause of the accident is yet unknown, but it was already established that the bus was almost new and owned by a company “with an excellent reputation.”
Belgian Transport Minister Melchior Wathelet said the drivers arrived beforehand and had a day to rest before the trip.
“It appears that the law on periods of driving and rest has been observed,” Wathelet said.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said no other vehicle was involved in the accident, describing the crash as “incomprehensible.”
The country’s prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, as well as ministers of finance and defense, flew to Switzerland on Wednesday afternoon.