Dutch Queen responds to fatal rail accident: "There are no words"
Queen Maxima expressed her and the King's support for the families of the four children killed in a collision between a train and an electric cargo bike in Oss on Thursday morning. "We have no words for this", she said to journalists during her visit to Drachten.
"Today I am in Friesland to see very happy children who are making music, but our thoughts really go to all the families who have lost their children today in the terrible accident", a visibly emotional Maxima said. She was in Drachten for the signing of a cooperation agreement for music education in Friesland, NOS reports.
The accident happened when a childminder was taking five children from childcare center Okido to primary school De Koranaer. They were on a railway crossing on Braakstraat when they were hit by a train. Four children died at the scene. They were between the ages of 4 and 11 years old, according to RTL. The childminder and another child are in critical condition in hospital.
"I am deeply touched by the extremely sad news from Oss where four young children died in a horrific accident. I wish all those involved a lot of strength with this heavy loss", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter.
"I got a knot in my stomach from this report", State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure said on Twitter. "From the bottom of my heart a lot of strength to everyone involved."
"A gruesome accident has ended the so young lives of beautiful children. If a promising future is destroyed like this, we are overwhelmed by immense grief", primary school De Korenaer, which the children attended, said in a statement, RTL Nieuws reports. "Let us hold on to each other in what is needed now."
"This is a day that you hope will never come. What happened here today touches everybody. It is an indescribable suffering", Oss mayor Wobine Buijs-Glaudemans said. "First my thoughts go out to the parents of the children and the childminder, the little brothers, the little sisters, the grandparents and the direct family. There are no words for what happened to them today."
She also expressed support for the train driver, the conductor and the many bystanders who witnessed the terrible accident. A location was set up in community center De Hille where these people can meet each other and talk to Victim Support employees.
"I want to thank the police, the fire department, the ambulance workers and all aid givers for the professionalism with which they did their work in extremely emotional and difficult circumstances this morning. It is amazing to be able to count on them", the mayor said. "Today every family was touched. It is a black day."