GENEVA (WJZ/AP)– A Baltimore survives a train derailment in Switzerland that was caused by a a small landslide.
Three train cars derailed and 11 people were injured Wednesday after a Swiss mountain train ran into a landslide in the Alps. One carriage slid off the tracks onto a steep slope and was halted by trees.
Noach Eckman, a Baltimore native, was on the train from St. Mortiz to Chur, Switzerland when he felt a big thump followed by a loud rumbling noise.
The accident happened in a deep wooded valley between Tiefencastel and Solis, southeast of Zurich in the canton (state) of Graubuenden. Some 200 people were on board at the time of the accident, which followed heavy rain in the region.
The landslide left one carriage dangling off a steep ravine, and passengers had to be rescued.
Five people were seriously injured and another six sustained slight injuries, Graubuenden police spokeswoman Anita Senti said. They were taken to nearby hospitals.
Helicopters with an air rescue service helped with the recovery efforts, since the crash site was not close to a road.
By mid-afternoon, everyone had been evacuated from the train cars, with uninjured passengers taken to Tiefencastel and put on buses.
The train had set off from the ski resort of St. Moritz on a line that leads north to Chur, Graubuenden’s administrative capital. It is operated by Rhaetische Bahn, which runs narrow-gauge routes in Switzerland’s mountainous southeastern corner that are popular with tourists.
Switzerland’s rail system is considered among the safest and most efficient in the world, despite the country’s challenging terrain.
Accidents are rare, although in 2010 the popular Glacier Express tourist train derailed in the Alps in southern Switzerland, killing one person and injuring 42 others.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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