miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2012

22 Children Die in Swiss Bus Crash

LOMMEL-KOLONIE, Belgium — In this tidy town on the Belgian-Dutch border, children at the ‘t Stekske elementary school would dream from first grade on about the annual ski trip to the Alps, recalled Vicki Emmers, 28, a former pupil. 
But on Wednesday, this grieving community, and the town of Heverlee, Belgium, home to the Sint-Lambertus school, grappled with the horrific truth: this year, the beloved ritual ended with the death of 22 children around the age of 12, and six adults, in the smashed metal wreckage of a bus that inexplicably careened into the wall of a tunnel in southern  Switzerland. 
Calling it “an extremely sad day for all of Belgium,” Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and other officials traveled to the crash site as government planes ferried to the Alps relatives of the dead and of the 24 who were injured, many of them severely. Counselors went along to help bereaved families confront the incomprehensible.
With 16 children feared dead, Lommel-Kolonie appeared to be the community most affected by the crash, which occurred about 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening, 25 minutes into a planned overnight journey back from the annual ski trip for the last year of elementary school.
“The kids save up the money all by themselves for their last year, selling things, running bingo sessions and so on,” said Ms. Emmers, who was volunteering at a community center. “It’s a dream from when you’re just 5 years old to make this trip.”
As flowers and tributes piled up outside the shuttered ‘t Stekske school, Bas van Dijk, 13, came to mourn. “I’d say we’re kind of angry with whoever was responsible for this crash,” he said. “I knew every single one of the victims.” Many, he said, were his soccer mates.
There was mounting rage over the loss and the physical and psychological damage to survivors. How, wondered parents and teenagers, could a bus from a company with an apparently good safety record swerve out of control like that?
“I’m asking myself, what are the drivers doing before they start out on their journeys?” said Jos Bode, 58. His 12-year-old granddaughter Jennifer was on the bus, he said, and he did not know whether she had survived. “Maybe it was not responsible of the tour operators to be driving at night,” he added.
Both bus drivers perished in the crash, along with other adults: Frank van Kerckhove, a Dutch teacher who had set up a blog for the Heverlee children to keep in touch with parents at home; Raymond Theunis, 54, a sixth-grade teacher at ‘t Stekske; and Veerle Vanheukelom, 38, a school administrator.
“Everyone loved” Mr. Theunis, recalled a former student, Marie Vercauteren, 14. “He was a very good teacher.”
Kris Verduyckt, deputy mayor of Lommel, who announced the death of the teacher and the administrator, said Wednesday evening that 6 of the 22 students from ‘t Stekske had survived. The fate of the other 16 was not clear, he said.
In some years, the ski party took the train, Bas said. Ms. Emmers wondered whether a bus was used this year because it was more direct and thus easier for children lugging heavy bags.
Because Lommel-Kolonie is less than a mile from the Dutch border, 9 of the 22 children from ‘t Stekske on the bus were Dutch citizens, and one was German. The rest were Belgian.
“Here the education is so much better than in Holland, and the kids have to treat their teachers with respect,” said Luc Erken, 58, whose home is directly next to the school, in a tidy middle-class district dotted with antiques shops and small businesses. “Some Dutch people even moved here thinking that here they get better schools, and gardens, and generally a much nicer environment.”
“Something really has gone forever with this tragedy,” said William van Dijk, 47, who lives opposite the school and has an 11-year-old daughter who goes there. Mr. van Dijk, who is Belgian, had already decided with his wife, who is Dutch, not to send his daughter on next year’s ski trip if it meant going by bus.
Across Belgium, radio and television was full of commentary about whether the rules for bus trips were sufficiently rigorous. Parents told phone-in programs that they might now take a more active role in vetting drivers and bus companies and in planning such trips, long left to schools to organize. Current and former bus drivers took to the airwaves, insisting that they were among the most responsible drivers anywhere in the world and that their companies were responsible and should not be thought of as unscrupulous.
In Heverlee, near the old university town of Leuven, residents mourned “Teacher Frank” and an unknown number of pupils lost out of 24 who had gone on the trip from the Sint-Lambertus school, a small Roman Catholic institution with about 200 pupils, The Associated Press reported.
Entries from the blog the teacher had established included glowing mentions of a torchlight march, rides in a funicular railway, a sing-along and a dress-up casino evening, The A.P. said.
The agency reported from Switzerland that even hardened rescue workers were stunned by the scene at the crash site.
It was “a scene like a war,” the police chief in the canton of Valais, Christian Varone, told reporters. “We have had a number of serious accidents in Valais, but nothing like this, with so many young victims.”

Nick Cumming-Bruce contributed reporting from Geneva, and Alan Cowell from London.

Legend of wigeon

Legend has it that The Warbler travels the plains region with a whistle that shakes tobe heard. Confused, because when you listen closely because you are away and vice versa.
The signal confirming that the spirit round the neighborhood is a characteristic sound ofbones colliding with each other.
It is believed that carries a sack over his shoulder. Some think they are the bones of their latest victims, others belonging to his father.
By the time he overhears the "crack-crack", but maybe it's too late.
They say that there was once a young man discovered that something strange was going on between his father and his wife.
Some say the old man hit the girl. Others argue that raped her.
"I did it because it is a gift 'was the explanation that the old man gave his son.
The legend continues with the young man burst into fury, and fought a death match withhis father.
Of the two, the father took the brunt. The young man dealt a heavy blow on the head witha stick, which lay on the floor, where the son is rushed and hanged himself.
The young man's grandfather, who heard the fight, went in search of the victim, for all purposes, his son. The grandfather swore to punish the young man, his own flesh and blood, for the heinous crime he had committed ... against his own flesh and blood.
It was not long in finding it. So what tied and delivered a barrage of blows with a "foreman of neck", typical of the plain.
"That's not being done to his father ... Damn you, pa 'toa' life," he said.
To complete the sentence, hot pepper rubbed into the wounds and took the dogTURECO to name after him. Until the end of time you are bitten heels.