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Dublin plans own tribute to Belgian bus crash children

A SPECIAL service to remember the young victims of the Swiss bus crash is to be held in Dublin on Thursday.

There were poignant scenes in Belgium where 22 small white coffins were carried off the plane from Switzerland yesterday.

The 22 children and six adults -- teachers, drivers and ski monitors -- were killed in a horrific accident last Tuesday as the group returned from "snow classes" in the Alps.

Belgium held a day of national mourning yesterday with solemn music filling the airwaves and official buildings displaying flags to half mast.


The nation of 11 million stood united in grief in the victim's memory. Workers in factories, offices and schools stood silent before Belgian churches slowly chimed their bells in unison.

Trains and subways stopped in their tracks for the tribute, culminating three days of shock that slowly turned to heart-wrenching sorrow.

A total 24 children were injured in the accident when the bus they were travelling home in crashed into a tunnel wall. The Belgium embassy here said last night that they wanted to mark the tragedy in Donnybrook next week.

A Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin at 6pm on March 22.

Books of condolence will be open at the church.

In Belgium, special ceremonies were also held at the two schools that shared the bus bringing pupils home from their ski holiday.

Swiss investigators are examining whether the design of a tunnel contributed to the crash. The coach is believed to have clipped a kerb inside the tunnel and veered into a lay-by which ended at a brick wall.

The Swiss Federal Office for Roads said it was examining whether the angle of the wall increased the severity of the crash. A facility to help disabled vehicles meant it was at a right angle to the tunnel road.

Spokesman Michael Mueller said: "In principle there is the possibility of slanting the angle of the bay, or protecting it with concrete or other elements."

He added: "Such a severe and tragic accident must always be taken as an opportunity to analyse the factors that could have influenced the causes and effects of the disaster."