Europe

One dead and 42 injured as Swiss train derails in Alps

  • 23 July 2010
  • From the section Europe

One person was killed and at least 42 others injured when a tourist train derailed in the Swiss Alps, police say.

At least 12 of the injured were said to be in a serious condition.

Most of the passengers on the Glacier Express were Japanese tourists, police said.

Three carriages came off the tracks and two tipped over in the accident, which occurred on a panoramic route between Zermatt and St Moritz.

Helicopters

The carriages derailed shortly before midday as the train, carrying about 210 passengers, travelled over a viaduct between the villages of Lax and Fiesch in the canton of Valais.

All the derailed carriages, which were at the back of the train, were first class. The cause of the accident was not yet known, police said.

Police would not confirm the nationality of the person who died, but Japanese news agency Kyodo said it was a 64-year-old Japanese woman.

Jean-Marie Bornet, of the Valais police, said the train was not moving fast and was on a gentle curve when the accident occurred.

"It is surprising that the train derailed at this spot," he told Swiss television.

"There is no explanation yet."

Nine helicopters were used to ferry the injured to hospitals in Lausanne and Geneva.

The Glacier Express train travels over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels during a journey lasting more than seven hours.

The service is known as "the slowest express train in the world" and carries 250,000 passengers a year.

Rail accidents in Switzerland are rare.

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