LATEST: Hostage situation on Swiss train ends after police shoot suspect dead

AFP - [email protected]
LATEST: Hostage situation on Swiss train ends after police shoot suspect dead
Police officers stand next to a train, where passengers were earlier held hostage. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

A hostage situation on a train in the west of Switzerland on Thursday night ended with the suspect killed in a police raid and the hostages safely freed, authorities said.


The hostage-taker was armed with an axe and a knife, and was speaking Farsi and English, Vaud canton police spokesman Jean-Christophe Sauterel said at a press briefing.

"At this stage of the investigation, the motives of the perpetrator are not known," he said.

The hostage-taker's identity, he added, was still not officially confirmed, and checks were being carried out.

"Nothing points us towards a terrorist act or a jihadist act," Sauterel told Swiss press. Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the attack and the hostage-taker's identity are ongoing, he added.


The man was shot dead by a police officer after allegedly rushing at him with the axe.

A total of 15 hostages were taken -- 14 passengers and the conductor -- with the ordeal dragging on for nearly four hours, from around 6:35 pm to 10:30 pm.

The suspect had forced the conductor of the train -- which was stopped near Yverdon -- to join the passengers, who alerted police to the situation.

Negotiations with the suspect took place in part via WhatsApp and with the help of a translator speaking Farsi, the predominant language in Iran.

Authorities ultimately decided to storm the train and executed a manoeuvre to keep the man away from the hostages, according to Sauterel.

Hostage situations are rare in Switzerland, but do occasionally occur.


In January of 2022, criminals took a couple and two employees of a company hostage in an attempt to gain access to vaults where precious metals were kept, but ultimately fled without the loot.

And in November of 2021, the director of a watch company and members of his family were taken hostage at his home, with the assailants stealing gold and taking off for neighbouring France.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also