Additional details have begun to emerge in the tragic coach bus crash that occurred in Switzerland on Tuesday night. The disastrous accident that left 28 people dead, including 22 children is said to have potentially been caused by the driver losing control after attempting to change a disc in the DVD player.
The claims come from the surviving children who were among the 52 passengers that were on their way home to Belgium from an otherwise fantastic ski vacation.
As of yesterday, investigators were still working tirelessly to determine whether the accident was caused by human error, mechanical faults or even a sudden ailment that would cause the driver to loose control. Two Belgium newspapers, Het Laaste Niews and AZ ran today with quotes from parents and hospital staff visiting the injured children. The survivors claimed that Frank Kerckhove, one of the six deceased adults accompanying the children on the trip had been seen walking down the aisle of the bus to hand a disc to the driver for the dash-mounted DVD player.
When operating such a large vehicle, a split second of lost concentration could result in diminished control. Bus operators interviewed by AZ confirmed the plausibility of this scenario.
Reports are still emerging from individuals that took part in the rescue operation. The initial characterization by Christian Varone, described the accident as “a scene like a war”. His account is corroborated by Alain Rittiner who said what he found was “worse than anything you can imagine”.
Yesterday it was revealed that the impact caused by the bus crashing into the concrete wall of the Tunnel de Geronde was so severe that it ripped the seats out of the floor. One of the survivors, a 12-year-old little girl told Swiss newspaper L’Avenir: “It was dark, I heard a massive crash. All the seats went up in the air. I found myself trapped between two of them.”
The people of Belgium and Switzerland have rallied behind the victims of this terrible disaster. Travel arrangements were handled by the governments to fly the parents of the 22 children to Switzerland to take on the devastating task of identifying the dead. The parents and the bodies of the deceased are due to be flown back to Belgium via military aircraft for a day of national mourning. Most of the injured children who survived the accident are expected to join. There are still three seriously injured victims that remain hospitalized in Lausanne.
A memorial of flowers has been started by mourners on the road bridge overlooking the tunnel.
Photo provided courtesy of KANTONSPOLIZEI WALLIS/POLICE OF VALAIS