Truck driver dead, 2 more victims feared

25th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 June 2004, AMSTERDAM — The driver of a truck which crashed into a small supermarket in the southern Dutch city Kerkrade on Friday has been confirmed dead and police will resume searching on Saturday morning for two other victims feared to have been killed in the accident.

26 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — The driver of a truck which crashed into a small supermarket in the southern Dutch city Kerkrade on Friday has been confirmed dead and police will resume searching on Saturday morning for two other victims feared to have been killed in the accident.

The truck's brakes are suspected to have failed on a steep incline on the Haanraderweg and the vehicle failed to make it around the intersection into the Meuserstraat, news agency ANP reported.

The driver of the German-registered truck was heard to shout he could not brake and swerved around a group of school children shortly before two-thirds of the 16m-long vehicle ploughed into the shop at about midday on Friday.

Part of the building collapsed and fire engulfed the premises due reportedly to short circuiting of electrical wires. Due partly to a  shortage of water, it took Dutch and Belgian firefighters about five hours before the blaze was brought under control.

Late Friday afternoon, a German doctor confirmed that the driver had died in the accident, but it was too dangerous to approach any further. His body was later recovered, news agency Novum reported.

Earlier reports that the man's wife and child might also have been in the truck at the time of the accident were incorrect. The driver was the only victim found in the cabin.

But bringing a revised suspected death toll to three, two other people — supermarket staff members — are believed to have been trapped in the shop. Authorities were to resume searching for the victims at 11am on Saturday.

Due to the intense blaze and the danger that the building might collapse further, rescue workers could not enter the building for several hours after the accident. Hopes of rescuing the victims alive faded throughout Friday.

It was initially feared that eight people might have been killed, but two residents of the apartment above the supermarket were later found unhurt and after Kerkrade Mayor Jos Som further reduced the death toll to a possible five victims on Friday, the latest figure now stands at three.

Despite the fact the truck had a German number plate, the identity and nationality of the victims has not yet been confirmed.

Meanwhile, with firefighters fearing an explosion, energy company Essent had been requested to shut off the gas supply in the street on Friday.

Once firefighters finally had extinguished the blaze, rescue workers pulled the truck trailer loaded with steel out of the shop. The truck cabin was removed from the building at about 2am on Saturday.

The fire brigade and police have launched investigations and the Kerkrade Council is examining the intersection's safety.

The council is especially assessing whether trucks may continue to use the Haanraderweg in the direction of the intersection, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

One city resident claimed hundreds of trucks drive down the incline in the area each day at high speed. The intersection has been under discussion for some time due to dangerous incidents involving trucks.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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