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Pope prays for victims of Alps coach tragedy

Published on 15/03/2012

Pope Benedict XVI has offered prayers for relatives of the 22 children and six adults killed in a Swiss coach crash as they returned to Belgium from a skiing trip, the Vatican said Thursday.

The pope “prayed for the Lord to give strength” to the injured and relatives of victims in a telegram sent by the Vatican’s secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone to the bishop of Mechelen-Brussel, Andre-Joseph Leonard.

Benedict XVI “shares the sorrow of the grief-stricken, and entrusts the victims to God’s mercy, praying that He will welcome them into his light,” the message said.

Forty-six children and four teachers from two Belgian schools were returning home from a skiing holiday late Tuesday when their coach slammed into a concrete wall in a motorway tunnel in southern Switzerland. The two drivers were also killed.

Twenty-one of the dead were from Belgium while the other seven fatalities were from the Netherlands.