Bern, 20 March, 2012. [CD-EUDnews]. On Wednesday March 21, in the presence of the Belgian royal families, in the two Belgian towns of Heverlee and Lommel, a memorial ceremony will be held in remembrance of the 28 victims of the school bus accident that occurred in Switzerland, one week ago, on Tuesday, March 13.
This will be a day of mourning, not only for the Belgian families that lost their beloved ones, but also for all of us who have been touched by this tremendous tragedy.
Exactly what happened in that 2.5 km tunnel close to Sierre, Switzerland, continues to be a mystery. A coach with 46 children (11 to 12 years old), 4 teachers and 2 drivers, on its way back to Belgium after a week-long ski trip, crashed unexpectedly against the wall of an emergency stop area in the tunnel. The impact was terrible and 22 children lost their lives, as well as the 4 teachers and 2 coach drivers. The accident also left 24 children injured, 4 of whom are still in Swiss hospitals due to severe injuries.
The news of this tragedy immediately circled the planet, astounding the billions of people who wonder how such an accident could have happened. For the moment, any hypothesis is only speculation. The fact is that what should have been a joyful ski trip, turned into a cut-breath casualty.
A young girl, one of the victims of the accident, wrote only a few days before to her parents: “Hello to all of you at home. I took the lift today; my ski instructor is super nice…. We also did some walking, afterwards we slid down the slope on a plastic bag, and in the evening we sang all the songs. It’s really marvelous here.” And finished: “I miss you so much.” Now the contrary is the reality– and for the other victim’s parents as well.
Two military planes transported all the victims to Bruxelles. A long applause welcomed the little white coffins carried by the soldiers.
We can imagine the feeling of those waiting for their beloved who tragically passed away.
The personnel of the two Catholic schools, Saint Lambertus in Heverlee and ‘t Stekske in Lommel, are mourning for their pupils and teachers.
Barna Magyarosi, Seventh-Day Adventists Education Director, Central European Region said, “As a religious denomination so sensitive to education, we are shocked by this tragedy that affected so many pupils. We can imagine the suffering of all the families, students, and teachers involved, and we express our deepest sympathy to all.”
Elsa Cozzi, the Seventh-day Adventist Children’s Ministries Director for the Central European Region added, “We are deeply touched by this tragedy. Children bring joy and life and we can hardly accept their death. The sadness overwhelms all of us, as we think of these 22 kids who will not be going back home any more.” She continued, saying, “We think as well of all the victims’ classmates who, every time they enter their classrooms, will see the empty places; the memory of the tragic journey will remain in their mind for long time. I’m asking to the Lord to give comfort to all the mothers, fathers and relatives who today are mournful and experiencing such great loss.”
Pastor Bruno Vertallier, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Central European Region, which also includes Belgium, affirmed: “I want to express to all the families of the victims, the most heartfelt and deepest condolences on behalf of the European Adventist Church. We are close to all of them through our prayers and feelings.”
The members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church join those who are in silence and in prayer, respecting all who are suffering in this moment of the heavy loss of their beloved.