Sunday, July 22, 2007

Apparently They Displeased the Sky-father. Next Time Buy More at the Gift Shop, eh ?

24 Die After Bus Plunges Off Mountain

By THIERRY BOINET, AP, with Associated Press Writer Ryan Lucas in Warsaw contributing
Posted: 2007-07-22

GRENOBLE, France (July 22) - A bus carrying Polish pilgrims from a holy site in the French Alps plunged off a steep mountain road, crashed into a river bed and burst into flames Sunday, killing 24 people, authorities said.

Another 20 people were seriously injured in the wreck, which occurred at about 9:30 a.m. [next to the La Romanche River in the French village of Vizille], not far from Grenoble, officials said. [...]

Buses have been prohibited from using the 5-mile stretch of road -- which has a 7 percent grade -- without a special permit since a similar accident in the 1970s, also involving pilgrims.

The bus involved in Sunday's crash pilgrims had no such permit, firefighters said. [...]

A handful of missing passengers may have been thrown out of the bus and into the river, firefighters said. Crews were searching the river by helicopter and boat.

The pilgrims were returning from the shrine of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette, about 25 miles south of Grenoble.

The prefecture of the Isere region in southeastern France said 49 passengers, a driver and another person -- likely a second driver -- had been on board the bus.

Marcin Szklarski, president of the trip's organizer, Orlando Travel [...] said 50 people were on the bus: 47 pilgrims, two drivers and a guide. [...]

Nestled between Alpine peaks, the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is about 5905 feet above sea level. The complex was built on the site two local boys claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to them in 1846. It has since become an important pilgrimage site, drawing Catholics from around the world.

Since my concept of religion doesn't include any obligation upon God to continue people's mortal existence, I often find these kinds of stories to contain a macabre, ironic humor.

Kind of like the dozens (or often, hundreds) of people who get crushed/trampled to death EVERY YEAR by the fevered throngs on pilgrimage to Mecca.

Also, what's with "the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is 'about' 5905 feet above sea level" ?!
Does the writer think that we care how many inches, exactly, the Sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is above sea level ?


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It would be interesting to see what effect this has on attendance.

July 22, 2007 10:40 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Oro, perhaps they're in competition with another sanctuary as to which one is nearer to God.

Orlando Travel? That's a bit jarring.

All kidding aside, it's a horrible accident, but Harry, I doubt it'll disuade other pilgrims.

July 22, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

erp is right.

Along the lines of:

When a tornado hits a church, it is an act of nature.

When a tornado levels a brothel, it is an act of God.

July 22, 2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

I wonder why they let the pilgrims on the road? If it's so dangerous, either fix the road or close it.

July 23, 2007 6:59 AM  

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