Childcare center devastated by fatal rail accident

Dutch police car
Dutch police car. (Photo: Politie)

After a rail accident in which four children were killed in Oss on Thursday morning, several parents went to seek support from each other at childcare center Okido on Obrechtstraat. Those who were directly involved - the victims' relatives and witnesses - are being cared for at the De Hille district center, Brabants Dagblad reports.

The kids who died in the accident attended Okido. They were on a cargo bike on their way to primary school when they were hit by a train at a crossing on Braakstraat, near the Oss West station. Four children died at the scene. Another child and a childminder were seriously injured. They are in hospital in critical condition, according to the newspaper.

Several dozen parents gathered at the Okido center. They sit quietly together, crying or calling loved ones. Many parents came to pick up their children, and came out in tears, the newspaper writes. Two police officers are at the door to keep the curious outside, according to AD.

The kids were being transported in a so-called Sint, a Dutch designed electrically driven cargo bike especially designed for out-of-school care, according to Omroep Brabant. The bike can transport up to 10 children at a time. The driver stands behind the container in which the passengers are seated. The Sint falls into the category of "special moped", which means that anyone aged 16 or older can drive it after completing a short course. No driver's license, helmet or license plate are needed.

Founder of the Sint company, Edwin Renzen, was badly shaken by the accident. "This is the worst nightmare of any parent", he said to NOS. He was about to get on a flight when he heard about the accident in the news. He immediately drove to Oss instead. "This is an unbelievably heavy blow, it's horrendous."

Victim Support immediately deployed employees to assist witnesses and others involved. "We are immediately on the spot in such a serious event", a spokesperson said to AD. "The accident happened during rush hour at a crossing that is used by motorists, cyclists and moped riders. I do not have exact numbers, but in view of those circumstances you are talking about dozens of people."

The organization also sent employees to the schools the victims attended, to help their fellow pupils and friends. Victim Support will keep a close eye on those involved in the coming period. "Our experience is that people, in this kind of radical event, can suffer for weeks or months."

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