(Lüscherz) Fifteen people were injured when two regional trains derailed almost simultaneously on Friday in northwestern Switzerland, the Bern cantonal police said.
A strong storm was sweeping through the area when the two crashes occurred.
The first train derailed around 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. Eastern time) in Lüscherz and the second about 20 minutes later around Büren zum Hof, a police spokeswoman told AFP. Flurina Schenk.
In Büren zum Hof, which is about twenty kilometers north of Bern, nine adults and three children were injured, Magdalena Rast, spokesperson for the cantonal police, told Swiss public television.
One person was seriously injured, the cantonal police said on Twitter shortly before.
Television images show wagons lying on their left side and the driver’s cabin embedded in one of the metal poles supporting the catenaries.
Stormy winds, which swept through Switzerland on Friday, were probably the cause of the derailment at Büren zum Hof, according to the railway company RBS (Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn).
At the precise moment of the derailment, a measuring station in the nearby town of Koppigen recorded a gust of 136 km/h, Meteonews revealed.
A depression centered on the south of England on Friday generated strong winds over part of Europe including Switzerland, underlines MeteoSwiss, referring to storm Mathis.
The strongest gusts were generally accompanied by showers and thunderstorms.
The derailment that occurred in Lüscherz injured three people, including the train driver, police said in a statement.
She specified that there too the wind was blowing strongly at the time of the derailment not far from Lüscher station.
Part of the regional train operated by the company Aare Seeland mobil (Asm) lay on its side, below the embankment where the rails are installed.
The box, around which railroad employees were busy wearing fluorescent orange work clothes, did not seem to have been much deformed by the shock.
However, firefighters were dispatched to extricate those involved, police said, adding that a total of 16 people were on board the train at the time of the accident.
Switzerland is renowned for its very dense rail network, with frequent services and a close network.
Enthusiasts from all over the world also go to this country to take certain lines that cross exceptional landscapes in the Alps or board trains that have no equivalent elsewhere in the world and manage to climb very steep hills.
Although train accidents are not exceptional in Switzerland, they generally do not cause a large number of victims.
Thus, in 2021, a total of eight people died (excluding suicides) and 47 were seriously injured in accidents involving trains, according to figures from the Federal Statistical Office.
“Overall, the number of rail accident victims has fallen markedly in recent decades – despite an increase in transport benefits,” the Agency notes.
The deadliest disaster in Swiss rail history occurred on June 14, 1891.
A bridge of the Jura-Simplon railways, built by Gustave Eiffel, had collapsed under the weight of a crowded train arriving from Basel. The accident killed 73 people and injured more than 150.
And on September 12, 1982, in Pfäffikon near Zurich, a train had hit a bus which was crossing on a level crossing whose barrier had not lowered.
Thirty-nine people died in this collision and only two bus passengers survived the disaster.