Group of youths beats bus driver unconscious

Bus drivers working for the Flemish local transport company De Lijn in the Waasland area of East Flanders have walked out after a colleague was attacked on Monday evening.

The driver on a service between Melsele and Antwerp was attacked by a group of about ten youths and beaten unconscious.

Eight of the attackers were detained for a while. Zwijndrecht police are attempting to identify the culprits uusing CCTV footage. They are working together with Antwerp police's youth crime unit. The bus driver who was attacked is also being questioned.

The eight youngsters who were detained have meanwhile been released untiol the identity of the attackers can be established.

Bus services in the Waasland area are seriously disrupted.

The incident happened shortly after 8PM on an 81 bus between Melsele and Zwijndrecht. The driver received blows to the face and needed to be hospitalised.

What triggered the attack is still unclear. De Lijn spokeswoman Isabel Colbrandt says that it is extremely rare that a group of people attacks a driver: "We've never experienced anything like it."

Fortunately for the driver a police officer in plain clothes was aboard the bus at the time. He alerted his colleagues allowing seven of the attackers to be detained. Three attackers are still being tracked down.