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Sierre accident Dutch ask Swiss for blood samples from bus crash driver

Relatives of the victims lay flowers at a monument

(Keystone)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has asked the Swiss government to provide blood samples from the driver who crashed a bus near the city of Sion in 2012, according to reports in Dutch and Belgian media. The crash killed 28 Dutch and Belgian citizens, most of them children. 

According to the De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws newspapers, Rutte made the request to Switzerland’s government after the parent of one of the children wrote a letter to Belgian and Dutch authorities asking for their help in procuring a blood sample. A group of parents had already appealed directly to the Swiss government, which denied their request. 

Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Office of Justice, told swissinfo.ch on Monday that his office "cannot confirm" having received the latest request from Rutte's government. 

A Swiss investigation confirmed in 2013 that the official cause of the bus crash was driver error. Investigators said the 34-year-old driver had an unusual heart condition that may have brought on sudden illness, but the theory ended up being impossible to prove conclusively.  

He was also taking anti-depressant medication, which are thought to increase suicidal impulses. However, the cantonal public prosecutor ruled that out as a possible cause of the crash and ruled out bringing charges against the driver, who also died in the crash. 

The coach was carrying 52 passengers from two Belgian schools returning from a ski holiday in March 2012 when it slammed into a tunnel wall on the A9 motorway between Sierre and Sion in canton Valais, western Switzerland. Twenty-two children and six adults died, and 22 more children were injured. 

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