Wales

Welsh coach crash in Switzerland injures 41 people

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Media captionThe coach had 39 passengers and was returning to south Wales from Italy

Forty-one people have been injured - four seriously - after a Welsh coach was in a collision involving four lorries in Switzerland.

The coach is from the Edwards coach operators based near Pontypridd in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Swiss police said three of those seriously hurt were onboard when the incident happened at about 11:15 BST on Friday, 25 miles (40 km) from Zurich.

The coach had 39 passengers and was returning to south Wales from Italy.

Jason Edwards, one of the directors of the company, said the majority of those injured have been released from hospital, and he understood those with more serious injuries were not in life threatening conditions.

"It is still a developing situation," said Mr Edwards, whose firm's headquarters are at Llantwit Fardre.

"The majority of those on the coach have been discharged from hospital, and they are being put up at a five-star hotel in Lucerne centre.

"We're still waiting for confirmation on the condition of those still in hospital."

Mr Edwards said his father, another director of the coach operator, was also in Lucerne, which is the nearest city to the incident, and that they were being assisted by British consular staff.

The coach party had been returning from a tour of Lake Como in Italy.

Crash scence at Eich Image copyright Luzerner Polizei
Bus crash Image copyright BBC News Grab
Luggage from crash Image copyright BBC News Grab

Police said 20 ambulances and three helicopters were used to ferry the injured to hospital.

According to Lucerne Police and Mr Edwards, the incident took place while the coach was at construction works on the A2 motorway at Eich when the vehicle was struck by a truck.

That led to another lorry crashing into the back of the coach - pushing into another vehicle.

Police said four lorries in total were involved in the incident, two from Switzerland, one from Poland and one from Slovakia.

They said the investigation into the crash was ongoing.

Responding to the incident, Pontypridd MP Owen Smith said: "I have spoken to the Edwards family who are at the scene doing all they can to assist those affected.

"I'm assured by them that the British Embassy staff in Switzerland are also responding positively and supportively.

"My thoughts are with all those injured and their families, and I hope that everyone involved gets home soon and makes a full and fast recovery."

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office added: "There has been a multiple vehicle accident in Switzerland. We are providing support to those affected and remain in close touch with the local authorities."

The coach company carries some 80,000 people a year on its holiday tour operations, as well as providing school transport to 6,500 pupils in south Wales and hires coaches to prestigious clients that include both Wales football and rugby teams, and Cardiff City football club.

The firm currently runs 250 vehicles from a series of satellite depots across south Wales and a number of travel shops at Cardiff, Swansea, and Merthyr Tydfil.

Have you been affected by the incident in Switzerland, or know somebody who has? If you are willing to speak to BBC Wales, please email us at newsonline.wales@bbc.co.uk

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