Pupils' blogs are tragic reminder
Some of the victims of the Swiss bus crash left inadvertently poignant reminders of themselves in a series of holiday blogs organised by their school.
"This afternoon we had soup and ravioli, very delicious," one girl wrote on March 6.
"Today was totally the best. The adventurous walk was tiring, but mega-cool," another girl wrote. "We won first prize for cleanest room. Tomorrow it's going to be colder. Byyyeeee!"
On March 10, one boy wrote: "Things are super here in Saint-Luc. The skiing, the weather, the food. It's not bad at all. Tomorrow I play in the Muppet Show. ... I have seen quite a few dogs. I'm now reading the book 'Why Dogs Have Wet Noses.' Very interesting! I miss you all."
Toward week's end, the postings revealed early signs of homesickness. "Dear mama and papa. I like it here a lot, but I miss you. Love you. Kisses." And: "Hey, mama, papa ... It is super here and the sun shines the whole day. But I do miss you! XXX."
The posts came with scores of photos added by the youngsters from Belgium's St. Lambertus school who were staying in a hotel in Saint-Luc, high in the Swiss Alps.
The dead included teacher Frank Van Kerckhove who set up the blog with the idea of keeping parents and schoolchildren who stayed home informed about all the fun.
The week began flawlessly. "This our first blog posting," wrote Mr Van Kerckhove. "The bus trip was very smooth. There was little traffic. We watched the movie Avatar (and) no one became car sick on the climb" into the Alps, he added. In the days that followed, the youngsters posted about their holiday with the youthful excitement experienced by almost every 11- or 12-year-old away on a class trip.
Outside St. Lambertus school in the town of Heverlee, parents spoke highly of Mr Van Kerckhove. Teary-eyed, some recalled his last post, dated March 11 - the eve of the return trip.
"Tomorrow will be a busy day and I do not know if I can write a blog posting," he wrote. "But on Wednesday we'll be back, all of us."