Driver dead in Swiss rail crash, 35 hurt

Rescue workers at the site of the Swiss rail accident in which two trains collided, have found the body of one of the drivers, police said early Tuesday.

A statement from local police said his body had been recovered from the cockpit of the wrecked train.

Emergency workers at the site of the crash, the village of Granges-pres-Marnand in western Switzerland, had to use special equipment to cut the two engines apart and retrieve the body.

In all, 35 passengers were injured in Monday evening's accident. Such was the force of their collision, the two mangled train engines were wrapped together in the crash.

Although five of those hurt were said to be seriously injured, police said their lives were not thought to be in danger.

Of the two trains involved in the accident, one had been bound for Lausanne, some 38 kilometres (24 miles) to the south, while the other was travelling north from the same city, officials said.

A total of 46 passengers had been on board, all of them Swiss, police said.

Police experts, along with members of the Swiss accident investigation authority SESA, have launched a probe into what caused the crash, officials said.

The accident happened shortly before 7:00 pm (1700 GMT), according to regional police.

Monday's collision on what is one of the most popular and safest rail networks in Europe was the latest in a series of rail accidents on the continent.

It comes in the wake of Wednesday's tragedy in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela which killed 79; and a crash near Paris two weeks ago that claimed seven lives.

Rescue workers, including medics and firefighters, had rushed to the scene from across the small-town Broye region where Granges-pres-Marnand lies, as well as from neighbouring cities.

A helicopter was scrambled by Switzerland's airborne REGA rescue service, known abroad for saving lives in the Alps.

The helicopter and ambulances rushed the five seriously injured individuals to a hospital in the nearby town of Payerne and south to the city of Lausanne.

In total, 26 people were taken to five separate hospitals, while those with lower-level injuries were treated on site by the emergency services and volunteer medics.

Traffic was interrupted between the towns of Moudon and Payerne, Switzerland's national railway company CFF said.

The company said both trains were operated by its regional service, a popular choice among commuters who work in the Lake Geneva hub of Lausanne.

Police said the northbound train was from the faster regional service, which in general stops at fewer destinations than the slower service that covers more local communities along the line.

Police experts, along with members of the Swiss accident investigation authority SESA, were on site to launch a probe into the causes of the crash, officials said.

A CFF spokeswoman told AFP that the two trains should have crossed at the station, thanks to a track system that allows them to pass one another.

It was not clear whether the collision could have been sparked by a delay to one of the trains, or one of them setting off too soon.

The accident echoed one in January at Neuhausen-am-Rheinfall in northern Switzerland, where two regional trains collided near a station.

Twenty-five people were slightly injured in that crash, caused by a failure to respect a signal.

Monday's crash was Switzerland's most serious since one in Zurich in 2003 which injured 45 people.