Sierre bus crash families request further investigation
A lawyer for five of the families of victims of the Flemish school bus crash in Switzerland in 2012 is asking for information on a second mobile phone belonging to one of the drivers
Lawyer asks for access to a second mobile phone
The requested investigation concerns a second mobile phone belonging to one of the drivers mentioned in the prosecutor’s report, said lawyer Dirk Vanden Boer. “This line of investigation could possibly provide new evidence,” he said.
On the evening of 13 March 2012, a school bus carrying children and staff from two Flemish schools – one located in Lommel, Limburg province, and the other in the Leuven district of Heverlee – collided with a wall in a tunnel in the Valais canton of Switzerland. The bus was returning from a skiing holiday – the traditional “snow class” attended by most children of the sixth year in Flemish primary schools.
Six members of staff were killed, together with 22 children and both bus drivers. The prime minister declared a day of national mourning, and the funerals were attended by both national and international dignitaries, including the king and queen, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, Swiss president Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, prime minister Elio Di Rupo, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters.
The Swiss investigation of the crash failed to provide a clear cause but did rule out several hypotheses, such as the driver experiencing a heart attack or a deliberate act by the driver (alleged to be depressed). According to the final report, “the accident was most likely caused by fainting or inattention on the part of the driver”.
The Swiss prosecutor, Olivier Elsig, will now decide whether to follow up on the request for additional investigation.
Photo: Pupils attend the opening of the memorial in Heverlee last year for the victims of the Sierre bus crash
Photo by Julien Warnand/epa/Corbis