Minister attends second bus crash funeral

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has attended a funeral service for Belgian victims of a bus crash in a Swiss tunnel in which 28 people died.

This content was published on March 22, 2012 and agencies

He joined the victims’ families, friends and various dignitaries at St Peter’s Church in Leuven for a Catholic Mass for the seven children from a school in the nearby town of Heverlee who were killed on March 13.

Also present were King Albert II of Belgium and Queen Paola, as well as Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima from the Netherlands.

Three girls hurt in the crash were repatriated to Leuven by air ambulance on Thursday after Lausanne University Hospital said their conditions had improved. They were the last children to leave Switzerland after the accident.

On Wednesday, Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf joined up to 15,000 mourners for a non-religious ceremony in the town of Lommel, home to 17 of the 28 victims.

The coach was carrying 52 people back to Belgium after a ski holiday when it hit a tunnel wall, killing 22 children and all six adults on board. Another 24 children were injured.

The crash near the alpine town of Sierre, canton Valais, was one of the worst road disasters in Swiss history and triggered a debate on the safety of Swiss tunnels.

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