Ninety-year-old driver caused fatal tunnel crash
20 February 2008
THUSIS – An inquiry confirmed Tuesday that a 90-year-old German motorist caused a head-on crash resulting in a fire in which nine people were killed in a road tunnel in eastern Switzerland.
There would be no further legal action as the driver was himself killed in the accident, the investigation found, according to the Swiss wire agency ATS.
His car had crossed the central reservation into the path of an oncoming car as they travelled through the Viamala Tunnel on the San Bernardino motorway in Graubuenden on September 16, 2006. It was not clear why it had left its side of the road.
The second car was then struck by a coach, carrying a local youth ice hockey team, and the vehicles burst into flames. Five of the dead were in two cars involved in the crash. The ice hockey team members all escaped.
There have been several accidents in the past in the 750m-long tunnel, which ends in a long curve and has been criticized on safety grounds by Germany’s traffic information provider ADAC.
It was the worst accident since October 2001 when two trucks collided in the Gotthard tunnel in the Swiss Alps. Eleven people died in the ensuing fire.
[Copyright dpa 2008]