March 21 - Belgians mourn 17 victims killed in last week's bus crash in Switzerland, in which a total of 28 people, including 22 children died. Nick Rowlands reports.
Mourners gather in Lommel in the Flanders region of Belgium to commemorate the 17 victims the town lost in last week's bus crash in Switzerland. 28 people, including 22 children, died on March 13 when a school bus returning from a ski trip crashed into the wall of a tunnel. Some 9,000 people attended the ceremony, and a further few thousand who could not fit in the arena watched on big screens from outside. The Belgian king and queen paid tribute to the victims and families. The Dutch crown prince and princess, and various politicians from Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were also in attendance. The mayor of Lommel said that the tragedy had eclipsed the coming of spring, and that too much of the future had been lost in the accident. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) LOMMEL MAYOR PETER VAN VELDHOVEN HOLDING SPEECH, SAYING: "The snow in our heart does not allow a new spring. Can we imagine something worse? Parents who lose that which is most dear and beautiful." Relatives took turns to read eulogies to those they had lost, as a picture of the deceased was shown on a screen. (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) MOTHER WHO LOST HER SON NICOLAI IN CRASH, SAYING: "We will always remember you as our sweet little teddy-bear. And now we are standing here together to honour you." Another ceremony is planned on Thursday for seven children killed from a school in Heverlee, some 25 kilometres east of the capital Brussels. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.