A bus carrying Belgian children home from a ski trip slammed into a tunnel wall in the Swiss Alps in a horrific accident that killed 28, police said Wednesday.
Another 24 children were injured in the wreck, police said.
Most of the children were 11 and 12 years old, said Joren Vandeweyer, a spokesman for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The bus carrying 52 people, including young students from two different Belgian schools, crashed late on Tuesday evening in the canton of Valais (shortly after 9 p.m. local time), which borders Italy.
Police said the bus had just joined the highway towards the Swiss town of Sierre after coming down into a valley. After travelling 2 km (1.2 miles) on the road, the bus bumped into the curb and skidded into an emergency siding in the tunnel.
The front of the bus was heavily damaged and appeared to be wedged against the wall, blocking people from getting out.
Valais police chief Christian Varone told a news conference that rescuers were greeted by what he called “a scene like a war.”
“We have had a number of serious accidents in Valais but nothing like this, with so many young victims,” he said.
“It is an event which will really shake the whole Belgian population when they wake up this morning to such extremely sad news,” Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told French radio Europe 1.
“It is incomprehensible,” Reynders said.
Image Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse