Speed blamed in Swiss train crash that killed Japan tourist

30th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Initial inquiries have found that speed caused a train derailment that killed a Japanese tourist in scenic southern Switzerland a week ago, an investigator said Friday.

A 64-year-old Japanese woman was killed and 40 people were injured when first-class carriages of the popular Glacier Express travelling between the ski resorts of Zermatt and St Moritz derailed and overturned on July 23.

Swiss federal accident investigators are expected to complete their assessment in a few weeks' time but the railway company has blamed human error.

Chief investigator Walter Kobelt told a news conference that the train driver appeared to have accelerated too quickly out of a corner, pulling the last carriage off the track, Swiss news agency ATS reported.

Kobelt said his team had ruled out problems with the weather or a landslip on the mountainside railway.

The company accepted responsibility, with chairman Jean-Pierre Schmid saying in a statement: "We deeply regret that human error led to this serious accident, and that so many people suffered pain and distress as a result."

Eight people, all Japanese nationals, were still being treated in hospital for their injuries on Friday, police in the Valais canton said. Three were expected to be discharged in the coming days.

The Valais prosecutor said he would wait for the full results of the investigation before deciding whether any charges should be brought.

© 2010 AFP

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