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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020
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Swiss tunnel crash victims remembered across Belgium

Pictures of the Swiss Alps crash victims have also been released.

a teddybear at the entrance gate of the primary school 't Stekske in Lommel.
a teddybear at the entrance gate of the primary school 't Stekske in Lommel.
Image: MICHEL KRAKOWSKI/Belga/Press Association Images

CONDOLENCE BOOKS WERE opened in Lommel today as two Belgian schools mourn the loss of 22 of their students and four of their teachers after a tragic bus crash in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday.

Tomorrow has been declared an official day of mourning for the 22 children who lost their lives.

Scenes of grief, sorrow and despair emerged earlier today as relatives of the victims visited the site of the crash inside the Tunnel de Geronde near the Swiss town of Sierre.

Parents were also faced with the heartbreaking task of identifying their children. Preparations are being made so families can fly their loved ones home tonight.

Back in Belgium, pictures of the victims of the crash – including two bus drivers - were installed at Lommel City Hall, where people came to register their condolences.

Young people left flowers, drawings and soft toys outside the two primary schools who lost students in the tragedy.

Swiss tunnel crash victims remembered across Belgium
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  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

  • Switzerland Tunnel Bus Crash

Investigations into what caused the crash are ongoing.

The Belgian school group was returning from a skiing holiday in Switzerland when their bus crashed head-on into a concrete wall in a motorway tunnel at about 9pm on Tuesday.

Police said the bus was not speeding and everyone aboard had been wearing seat belts when it crashed inside the 2.5-kilometre tunnel, a gateway to the Val d’Anniviers tourist region. No other vehicles were involved.

Investigators were still trying to determine how a modern bus, a rested driver and a seemingly safe tunnel could produce one of the deadliest highway crashes in Swiss history.

One theory being reported across Swiss media today is that survivors of the crash claimed the driver had reached to change a DVD on the onboard entertainment system shortly before the crash. It was unclear whether that could have contributed to the crash, and neither police nor prosecutors commented on the report.

Earlier: Swiss crash: Bodies of victims flown home today>

Poignant blog chronicles joy of Belgian children before crash>

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