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Swiss Train Collision Leaves Driver Dead, 25 in Hospital

Swiss Head-On Train Collision Leaves 40 Injured, Police Say
A fireman works at the scene where two passenger trains collided head-on in Granges-pres-Marnand, western Switzerland, Monday, July 29, 2013. Photographer: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP Photo

Two trains collided head-on in western Switzerland, killing one of the engine drivers and hospitalizing 25, local police said.

It’s possible there may be another victim trapped in the wreckage of the accident, which occurred at 6:46 p.m. yesterday outside the town of Granges-pres-Marnand, Jean-Christophe Sauterel, a police spokesman for the Canton of Vaud, told reporters today in Lausanne.

The debris is being transported to a site in nearby Yverdon-les-Bains for separation and authorities won’t be able to confirm today whether anybody else was injured, Reto Schaerli, a spokesman for the national rail company SBB, said by phone today.

The exact cause of the crash between two trains traveling to and from Lausanne on the same track may take several days to determine, according to the SBB. One of the trains may have ignored a signal to remain in a station, according to the police, who are questioning the driver.

“We are shocked by the accident and apologize to our customers,” SBB Chief Executive Officer Andreas Meyer said at the same press conference. “We have no major security problems” on Swiss railways, he said.

The accident is the latest of several fatal train collisions in Europe. A crash in northern Spain after a high-speed train went off the rails on July 24 killed 79 people. On July 12, six people died when a French train smashed into a commuter station outside Paris.

Local Hospitals

The Swiss Accident Investigation Board is examining the collision, along with SBB investigators and police specialists. The prosecution service has ordered an autopsy on the driver.

The injured passengers were transported to hospitals in the region, police said. None of them is in a life-threatening condition, according to SBB’s Schaerli.

The two trains had a total of 46 passengers, all of whom were Swiss, the police said.

News photos from the crash showed the fronts of both trains smashed into each other. An unidentified passenger on the train traveling to Lausanne told 20 Minutes that the train braked three times before a violent crash sent smashing glass flying through the cars.

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