Mountains of flowers: Oss residents commemorate kids killed in rail accident
Hundreds of Oss residents gathered at a rail crossing on Braakstraat in Oss on Thursday evening to commemorate four children who were killed in a collision between a train and a cargo bike at the crossing that morning. They left mountains of flowers and stuffed animals, and lit candles for the children, AD reports.
The kids who died in the accident were 4, 4, 6 and 8 years old. Two of them were sisters. Their older sister, aged 11, was seriously injured. Their childminder from childcare center Okido, a 32-year-old woman, was also seriously hurt. All five children are from Oss, the childminder from Heesch. The two injured are still in critical condition in hospital, according to the police.
Seven firefighters who provided aid during the tragic accident, also returned to the scene on Thursday night. When one woman noticed them, she thanked them with an embrace. Others followed suit and the firefighters were soon surrounded by a crowd of people, expressing their thanks and support, according to the newspaper.
"Normally we never go back to the scene of an accident, but we felt that we had to do it now", post commander Hans Ritger said to AD. "I've been in the fire department for 30 years now and have been through a lot of train accidents, but I have never seen anything so terrible. Children, they touch you. So did his applause and the hugs by the way. This has such an impact, I have no words for it. Here you can see how close the Oss community is. This touches every Oss resident."
Ritger and his men also brought flowers to the scene. "Four of us also have children, some of us know one or more victims in some way. It touches us personally", he said to the newspaper.
Oss mayor Wobine Buijs gave a short speech at the scene, praising the "resilience of Oss". "This is a day on which we forget all conflicts and support each other", she said. "Everyone has a niece or a friend who is involved", the mayor later said to Brabants Dagblad. "There are no words for this suffering. The only thing you can do is cry and celebrate life together. Give your children a big hug in the time you have."
The Oss city council delayed their weekly meeting by an hour and first went to the scene of the accident. The meeting started with a minute of silence.
Roger van Boxtel, CEO of rail company NS, was present in Oss. No NS representatives will discuss this accident in talk shows, out of respect for all those involved, NS's head of communication Bartho Boer said on Twitter. "First time and space to give this grief a place."
Earlier on Thursday Queen Maxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte also expressed their support for the families of the children involved. "Our thoughts really go to all the families who have lost their children today in the terrible accident", a visibly emotional Maxima said. "We have no words for this."