Train crash kills three in central Switzerland

The demolished van after its fatal collision with a Zentralbahn train Keystone

Three people are dead after a train and a van collided near Lucerne in central Switzerland on Monday. The accident took place at an unmanned level crossing outside the village of Wolfenschiessen.

This content was published on August 11, 2014 - 11:34 and agencies

At least three tourists from Israel were killed and five were seriously injured in the collision, Nidwalden cantonal police confirmed at a news conference.

The train passengers were unharmed according to Zentralbahn, the company that operates the regional line.

The victims were trapped in the vehicle, and it was very difficult to get them out, a police official said. The injured were flown to nearby hospitals.

Both the train and the minibus were headed for the mountain resort of Engelberg.

The accident happened when the minibus took a right at the railroad crossing. The site of the accident is about 20 kilometres south of the city of Lucerne.

Level crossings

Last month, Wolfenschiessen saw another collision between a car and a train, but nobody was injured on that occasion.

Half of the Zentralbahn's 64 Nidwalden crossings are in Wolfenschiessen, and the majority of these need to be updated. However, in May the cantonal parliament rejected a request for an additional credit to renovate them. A revised proposal is currently being prepared.

Swiss rail companies were supposed to improve inadequately secured crossings by the end of this year. However, federal regulators have adjusted the deadline as this has proved impossible. As of December 2013, there were still 1,200 unsafe crossings nationwide.

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