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Sierre, Switzerland - In Photos: Horrific Swiss Bus Crash Kills 28

Published on: March 14, 2012 09:35 AM
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The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9 next to the place of the crash, right in green, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early, 14 March 2012. Twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, according to local authorities.  EPA/LAURENT GILLIERONThe wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9 next to the place of the crash, right in green, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early, 14 March 2012. Twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, according to local authorities.  EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

Sierre, Switzerland - A tour bus slammed into a tunnel wall in the Swiss Alps in a horrific accident that killed 22 school children and six adults returning to Belgium from a joyous ski vacation.

The bus carrying 52 people, including students of around age 12 from two different Belgian schools, hit the tunnel wall shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday night on a highway near the southern town of Sierre, Switzerland, in an area of popular ski resorts.

A rescue helicopter stands in front of  the tunnel entrance after a bus crashed in the tunnel, in Sierre, Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. According to media reports more than 20 people have been killed when the bus from Belgium crashed inside the tunnel. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)A rescue helicopter stands in front of the tunnel entrance after a bus crashed in the tunnel, in Sierre, Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. According to media reports more than 20 people have been killed when the bus from Belgium crashed inside the tunnel. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is dragged by a tow truck outside the tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Rescue workers stand near debris of a crashed tourist bus from Belgium in a tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)Rescue workers stand near debris of a crashed tourist bus from Belgium in a tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. 28 people were killed in the bus crash. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Rescuers and police work amid the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday.  (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)Rescuers and police work amid the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday.  (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
A police officer works at the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)A police officer works at the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Police and rescuers work at the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)Police and rescuers work at the wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium at the accident site in a tunnel of the A9 highway near Sierre, western Switzerland, early Wednesday, March 14, 2012. A bus carrying Belgian students returning from a ski holiday crashed into a wall in a Swiss tunnel, killing 22 Belgian 12-year-olds and six adults, police said Wednesday. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Belgium Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (2-L)  talks with Belgian King Albert II (C) and Queen Paola (R) as they arrive at a military airport to meet with relatives, parents and teachers of victims of a bus crash in Switzerland last night, in Melsbroek, Belgium, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children travelling back to Belgium from a skiing holiday, local authorities said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late on 13 March. 'Our first findings show that the travel coach entered the tunnel and touched the kerb. And then the bus was hurled against an emergency bay and was severely damaged,' regional police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten told Swiss television. The initial cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)Belgium Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo (2-L)  talks with Belgian King Albert II (C) and Queen Paola (R) as they arrive at a military airport to meet with relatives, parents and teachers of victims of a bus crash in Switzerland last night, in Melsbroek, Belgium, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children travelling back to Belgium from a skiing holiday, local authorities said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late on 13 March. ‘Our first findings show that the travel coach entered the tunnel and touched the kerb. And then the bus was hurled against an emergency bay and was severely damaged,’ regional police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten told Swiss television. The initial cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)
Relatives, parents and teachers take a bus to travel to the airport, at the Sint Lambertus school in Heverlee, Belgium, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children travelling back to Belgium from a skiing holiday, local authorities said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late on 13 March. 'Our first findings show that the travel coach entered the tunnel and touched the kerb. And then the bus was hurled against an emergency bay and was severely damaged,' regional police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten told Swiss television. The initial cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)Relatives, parents and teachers take a bus to travel to the airport, at the Sint Lambertus school in Heverlee, Belgium, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children travelling back to Belgium from a skiing holiday, local authorities said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late on 13 March. ‘Our first findings show that the travel coach entered the tunnel and touched the kerb. And then the bus was hurled against an emergency bay and was severely damaged,’ regional police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten told Swiss television. The initial cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)
The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is seen in a hangar in Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children from Belgium travelling home after a skiing holiday, local police said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late 13 March. The cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is seen in a hangar in Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children from Belgium travelling home after a skiing holiday, local police said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late 13 March. The cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)
The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is seen in a hangar in Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children from Belgium travelling home after a skiing holiday, local police said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late 13 March. The cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)The wreckage of a tourist bus from Belgium is seen in a hangar in Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. A coach accident in Switzerland has left 28 dead, including 22 children from Belgium travelling home after a skiing holiday, local police said on 14 March. Police said 24 children were injured when their Belgian bus crashed into the wall of a motorway tunnel near Sierre, south of Bern, late 13 March. The cause of the crash on the straight stretch of road was not immediately clear. Most of the victims were 12 years old. (Credit: EPA)
Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react  in front of the school, 't Stekske in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react in front of the school, ‘t Stekske in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)
Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react  in front of the school, 't Stekske in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react in front of the school, ‘t Stekske in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)
Relatives of victims of a bus crash react in front of 't Stekske school in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in a bus crash in a tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, Switzerland, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)Relatives of victims of a bus crash react in front of ‘t Stekske school in Lommel, Belgium, 14 March 2012. Twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in a bus crash in a tunnel of the motorway A9, in Sierre, Switzerland, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)
Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react  in front of the school, Saint Lambertus, in Heverlee, Belgium, 13 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)Relatives of Belgian victims of a school bus crash near Sierre, Switzerland react in front of the school, Saint Lambertus, in Heverlee, Belgium, 13 March 2012. Reports state that twenty-eight people were killed, six adults and 22 children, in the bus crash in the tunnel on the A9 motorway, near Sierre, Switzerland, on 13 March 2012, according to local authorities. (Credit: EPA)
Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance after a foreign bus crashed in the tunnel of the motorway A9, near Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. Many were injured, according to Canton du Valais police's first press release. (Credit: EPA)Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance after a foreign bus crashed in the tunnel of the motorway A9, near Sierre, western Switzerland, 14 March 2012. Many were injured, according to Canton du Valais police’s first press release. (Credit: EPA)
A helicopter takes off as rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March  2012. (Credit: EPA)A helicopter takes off as rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March 2012. (Credit: EPA)
Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel, near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March 2012. News reports say a Belgian tour bus crashed inside the tunnel killing 28 people, 22 of them children and injuring 24 children. (Credit: EPA)Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel, near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March 2012. News reports say a Belgian tour bus crashed inside the tunnel killing 28 people, 22 of them children and injuring 24 children. (Credit: EPA)
Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March  2012. (Credit: EPA)Rescuers work at the tunnel entrance of the A9 motorway after a bus crashed in the tunnel near Sierre, Switzerland, 14 March 2012. (Credit: EPA)

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1

 Mar 14, 2012 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Oy, nebach. How terrible.

2

 Mar 14, 2012 at 09:55 AM kingizzy Says:

What a tragedy!!! I hope the families find some comfort!!

3

 Mar 14, 2012 at 09:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Nebech, so many innocent children killed.

4

 Mar 14, 2012 at 01:03 PM ModernLakewoodGuy Says:

This is horrible... and what a fatal design flaw in this tunnel, a wall that the bus slammed into right off the tunnel shoulder.

5

 Mar 14, 2012 at 02:56 PM Reb Yid Says:

What a terrible design. Similar to overpass walls near exit ramps on many highways, like the Southern State Parkway.

6

 Mar 14, 2012 at 08:02 PM Hershberg Says:

Horrible, horrible accident, which should not have occurred; unfortunately, the modern day motor coach type buses are not built that strongly, as they disintegrate upon impact. Years ago, Greyhound used to have very heavy type vehicles. Today, if one looks at interstate highway buses both here and abroad, they are constructed very lightly to save on fuel. In addition, there are no air bags or seat belts in such vehicles, as there are in private cars. In the USA, the NTSB has recommended mandatory use of seat belts in intercity buses, but the bus industry and its lobbyists has fought against their usage. Getting back to the Europeans, I cannot specifically comment on this accident. However, I distinctly remember being a passenger on a tour bus on the Simplon pass, between Italy and Switzerland. The macho, fool, driver was showing off for the ladies, and steering on a dangerous mountain road, with one or two fingers, while the bus was going downhill!

7

 Mar 15, 2012 at 02:03 AM schwartzi Says:

Reply to #6  
Hershberg Says:

Horrible, horrible accident, which should not have occurred; unfortunately, the modern day motor coach type buses are not built that strongly, as they disintegrate upon impact. Years ago, Greyhound used to have very heavy type vehicles. Today, if one looks at interstate highway buses both here and abroad, they are constructed very lightly to save on fuel. In addition, there are no air bags or seat belts in such vehicles, as there are in private cars. In the USA, the NTSB has recommended mandatory use of seat belts in intercity buses, but the bus industry and its lobbyists has fought against their usage. Getting back to the Europeans, I cannot specifically comment on this accident. However, I distinctly remember being a passenger on a tour bus on the Simplon pass, between Italy and Switzerland. The macho, fool, driver was showing off for the ladies, and steering on a dangerous mountain road, with one or two fingers, while the bus was going downhill!

The bus in the accident is a Van Hool .It is made in Belgium. There are over 1,500 of them operating here in the USA.
They are for the most part made out of composite material. In other words fiberglass.

The buses were imported into this country starting in 1985. The earlier Greyhound models up to about 1998 were all made up of a combination of steel,and aluminum.they were and are still made like tanks. (but only the transit,and commuter types are built this way.) The models are the MCI (Motor Coach Industries) D-3 and DL-3 same as the ones we see every day,operated by NYCTA.
NYCTA also runs some Van Hool,and Prevost buses in it's daily operation. these are the new smooth skin buses made up of fiberglass bodies.
the reason that the European models were imported into the USA,is not only to save on fuel consumption,but also to give the buses a more modern look.
These types of buses were already built decades ago in Europe. the USA is trying to catch up to the Europeans,in producing these sleek,modern looking buses,
Also, some bus manufacturers,here and in Canada,have started installing seat belts in their new coaches.
It's an option for the buyer and not mandatory,(at least yet

8

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