2 July 2005 -- Nearly 100 survivors of last September's Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia today began a two-week vacation in Austria as guests of Austrian politician Joerg Haider.
Ninety-six young survivors of the massacre arrived late yesterday in the southwestern Austrian province of Carinthia. Haider, the province's governor, and former Minister of Social Affairs Herbert Haupt greeted the children, aged 10 to 18, as well as 12 adult chaperones.
Haider told the group he hoped their stay in Carinthia would help them distance themselves from the tragedy in Russia's North Ossetian republic.
Armed militants held more than 1,200 hostages in the Beslan school's sweltering gymnasium with no food and little water. Some 330 people, more than half of them children, died in a subsequent battle between the hostage-takers and Russian special forces.