At least 64 people have been injured after two trains packed with tourists collided head-on near the Swiss Alpine resort of Interlaken.This content was published on August 7, 2003 - 17:08
Twenty-seven victims have been taken to hospital, including a passenger with serious head injuries.
The two trains were carrying 280 passengers when the accident occured, shortly before 10am on Thursday morning.
Police said a local train was making a scheduled journey on the popular route between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen on a single-track stretch of rail, when it was hit by the other train, which had been laid on to cope with extra tourists during the peak season.
The scheduled train stopped after frantic radio warnings but the other train did not and collided into the other.
Peter Wenger, spokeman for the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB), said the most likely cause of the accident was a missed red light.
“The final cause of the accident has not yet been ascertained but it seems as though a train driver drove through or didn’t see a red light,” he told swissinfo.
The Swiss air rescue service, Rega, rushed four helicopters to the scene and one has been used to transport the injured to hospital in the Swiss capital, Bern.
Wenger said it was the first time in 50 years that there had been an accident on this stretch of the railway and that the accident would be properly investigated.
“An investigating magistrate will look into the cause of the accident and then, depending on the circumstances, there could be a prosecution,” he said.
He said both drivers were shaken and one was lightly injured but the other was unhurt.
Authorities said the damage would run into millions of Swiss francs. The line reopened on Friday.
BOB did not release any details of those hurt, but said they were of several nationalities, including Swiss, German, English and Indian.
The region around Interlaken is traditionally very popular with Japanese and American tourists, who use the local rail network to visit the Alps and Europe’s highest railway station at Jungfraujoch.
Between 4,000 and 6,000 passengers per day travel on the line.
"There were tourists from around the world on the trains," local railway director Walter Steuri said.
swissinfo, Isobel Johnson and Ramsey Zarifeh
Two trains collided near Interlaken, leaving 64 injured.
27 people were taken to hospital - one with serious head injuries.
Railway officials said the likely cause of the accident was a missed red light.
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