Police seek motorists who fled 50-car pileup

Police continue to investigate a 50-car pileup on the A-9 motorway in the canton of Vaud that injured 11 people over the weekend.

The incident occurred on Saturday around 11.30am in foggy conditions on the stretch of the highway between Vennes and Chexbres, east of Lausanne,  just before a tunnel.

Forty six of the 50 vehicles involved were damaged in the chain reaction accident.

The injured were taken to the regional hospital.

In a bid to find out who was responsible, Vaud cantonal police are looking for the drivers of a dozen vehicles involved in the crash who fled the scene before officers arrived.

Some of the vehicles that left were apparently damaged, police said.

But an insurance expert told Le Matin that all the drivers “were to a certain extent at fault” for not respecting a safe distance between their vehicles.

The accident occurred on an elevated section of the highway overlooking Lake Geneva above a ravine.

Martial Grognuz, 48, told Le Matin he was stuck in his Saab beneath a Jeep that rode up onto the windscreen of his car.

“If I had exited by the window I would have fallen into the ravine,” said Grognuz, from Prilly in the canton of Vaud.

“Fortunately, I got out by the boot (the trunk).”

He explained that his car wedged under the rear of the Jeep after he braked in vain to avoid a collision after travelling at an estimated 40 kilometres an hour.

One of the wheels of the Jeep pierce the windscreen on the passenger side but Grognuz escaped injury.

Police transported many of the motorists and passengers involved — around 100 people to a cantonal police centre in Lausanne, where they were given soup and hot chocolate.

A section of the highway was closed until 4pm on Saturday, while 100 officials from the cantonal police department, rescue services, fire department and other organizations arrived on the scene.

Police said people involved in the accident who have not yet reported to police can do so by phoning 021 644 83 48 between 7am and 5pm.

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Drunk man dies trying to board train in Lausanne

Questions are being raised about the death of an inebriated 64-year-old man who fell between a train and the station platform in Lausanne less than two hours hours after police at another Swiss station checked him for being drunk.

Drunk man dies trying to board train in Lausanne
InterCity train. Photo: Swiss Federal Railways

The victim, a Polish citizen, attempted to board an InterCity train heading to Geneva late Sunday afternoon as it was pulling out of the station, according to a report from La Liberté newspaper, citing a statement issued by Vaud cantonal police.

The man directed an unsteady foot in the direction of the carriages, “tried to hang on to the moving train . . , (and) lost his balance before falling between the platform and the railway tracks,” police said.

La Liberté reported that one of the victim’s legs, jammed between the train and the edge of platform number 5, was severed.

A doctor, two ambulance attendants and firemen quickly arrived on the scene but were unable to save the man, who died from his injuries.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) earlier notified Fribourg cantonal police at around 3.20pm that the man was drunk and had fallen on the floor of a train travelling from Geneva to Lucerne, La Liberté reported.

Two doctors travelling on the train had first noticed him and the fact he had a gash on his forehead.

At the Fribourg train station, cantonal police checked the man, who told officers that he lived in Lausanne, La Liberté reported.

Police then accompanied him on to another InterCity train heading to the Vaud capital, where he fell asleep, the newspaper said.

SBB staff woke the man up when the train arrived in Lausanne and an employee accompanied him to a bench on the platform.

The victim died while trying to board the train he had just got off, police said.

An investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the accident.

It was the second fatal accident involving a train in the canton of Vaud on Sunday.

A 24-year-old pedestrian was struck by a train at around 6am on the Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) railway near Les Avants, a village several kilometres northeast of Montreux.

The victim, a local resident, became separated from a group of friends after visiting a local music festival, Vaud police said.

Police are still looking into the causes of the mishap.