Oss primary school commemorates kids killed in Stint crash on 1st anniversary
A year ago today four children were killed when a train crashed into a Stint cargo bike at the railway crossing on Braakstraat in Oss. A fifth child and a childminder taking them to primary school De Koreaner were seriously injured. Today, on the first anniversary of the tragedy, the primary school is commemorating the children they lost.
Four butterfly bushes form the heart of the new memorial site at De Koreaner, one for each child killed in the crash - 6-year-old Fleur, 4-year-old Kris, and sisters 8-year-old Dana and 4-year-old Liva. The 11-year-old girl seriously hurt in the crash, was Dana and Liva's older sister. A rainbow mural was painted on a wall next to the school's entrance. Four metal butterflies will be hung on the wall during the school's commemoration. Afterwards, all children will leave a stone at the butterfly bush garden on which they can write a note or draw a picture.
"We are hoisting our commemorative flag for the first time with a rainbow and four butterflies on it", director Peter Janssen said to the newspaper. "We will continue to do that every year, even when our new school building is here in a few years."
The school is doing good a year after the tragedy, according to Janssen. The girl who survived the crash but lost her sisters returned to her group 8 class in December. She took part in some of the lessons and worked on her physical recovery elsewhere. "We looked for possibilities to let her participate in everything. She also had a role in the farewell musical. She was there with her crutches on stage. Sitting down if she needed to. Those are the moments when shivers run down your back. You see a child who survived and has to continue on. Also with the loss of her sisters." Her father said a few words after the farewell musical. "You have a different evening than normal when saying goodbye to such a group."
The end of the school year was tough. "You still see the impact. The tiredness after such a year. I myself have never been so happy that everyone came back to school unscathed after the holidays", Janssen said to the newspaper.
Other Oss residents also still carry the accident in their hearts. Life goes on, but this will stay with you forever, was the general sentiment residents gave to RTL Nieiuws.
"In the beginning I found it very strange. That life there, already on the first day after the accident, goes on like this. As if nothing happened", local resident John said to the broadcaster, pointing to the train station. "You can't keep mourning. But on the other hand, there are those families... I often think about that. Shivers through my body. Man man man."
"The rail crossing has not been the same for me since the accident", local Christa van Thiel said. She worked at the De Hille neighborhood center on the day of the accident. The center served as a crisis center for the families of the deceased children. "Every time I cross it, I think about it. Those poor children, and that woman... It has become a nasty place. That hasn't changed after a year." It's crazy how time is, she added. On the one hand, a whole year has passed. "And on the other hand, it feels like yesterday."
Both John and Christa mentioned the sense of community that existed since the accident. Everyone knows someone who was involved in the accident. And people from outside quickly associate the place name with the drama", John said to RTL. But he thinks they also associate Oss with love and warmth. "I remember that soon after the accident, the entire lawn behind that crossing was covered with flowers, toys. I found that impressive."
Christa said: "A lot of grief was released, but also a lot of support and togetherness."
The municipal commemoration was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday in the Elzeneindpark.
A collection of articles regarding the accident can be found here.