Staff broke the terrible news to pupils at St Lambertus school in Heverlee at morning assembly. A short time later, parents who would have been collecting their children from the ski trip began arriving with overnight bags to make an agonising journey to Switzerland. At that stage all that was known was that two adults and eight children from the school were among the dead. Their identities still unconfirmed.
The entire community was stunned. Outside the school one woman said: “It’s terrible. I’m speechless. I don’t have any words to say… it must be… I try to put myself in the place of those parents who came to see their children after a week’s skiing trip. You can’t imagine… “
Some families learned that their children had survived with injuries. However, the information was coming through painfully slowly. Louis Tobback Mayor of Louven, of which Heverlee is a suburb said: “We have the impression that even the communication hasn’t gone very well. Even to ask for a number to contact… because we had photos of the children to identify them. We have the impression that the Swiss at one point stopped giving information because they were inundated with calls.”
As the wait for news continued teachers posted pictures and messages of support from St Lambertus pupils. Euronews’ reporter in Heverlee said: “The most difficult thing here in Heverlee is not knowing, is the unbearable uncertainty about the identity of the eight children. A medical and psychological support team left with the parents for Switzeland.”